Maria Sharapova on Thursday kept alive her hopes of a second US Open crown, four years after her first, with an impressive 6-1, 6-2 win over Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic.
It was a far more accomplished performance from the 2006 champion than in the first round, when she was made to struggle at times against Jarmila Groth of Australia before winning in three sets.
And it sets her up well for a possible prime-time meeting with top seed and runner-up here last year, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, in the fourth round, with 18-year-old American wildcard Beatrice Capra standing in her way in Saturday's third round.
Sharapova opened strongly, breaking the 68th-ranked Benesova in the second game for a 3-0 lead.
The Russian glamour girl stayed on top with her trademark howitzers off both flanks sending her lightweight scampering from side to side behind the baseline.
Sharapova wrapped up the first set 6-1 and when she broke again in the third game of the second set, there was little prospect of Benesova working her way back into the match.
The former world number one, who has battled back this year from an injury-blighted 2009, broke again in the seventh game and she served out comfortably for the win.
"I knew coming in it was pretty gusty and playing a left-hander, hadn't played one for a while, so I knew it would be tough and I just had to hang in there," she said.
"Last year here, the position I was in, I was trying to see where my game was, so it's nice to be back on the court and not having to worry about anything other than trying to win."