Maria Sharapova melts down, gets emotional win at return to U.S. Open

Maria Sharapova was experiencing a mini meltdown in her first Grand Slam action since the drug suspension, an emotional rollercoaster of a match that included loud grunts and tense moments from both sides.

Then, Sharapova ran off the court. She literally left after collapsing in the second set.

Nearly 10 minutes later, the Russian returned through the tunnel and the tennis momentum completely shifted. If that was a bathroom break, Sharapova obviously needed the relief. If that was a show of gamesmanship - whether to recalibrate herself or throw off the opponent - it worked.

She waited over two years for another grand slam chance after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug, so what's another 10 minutes?

See Sharapova's emotional reaction to her big return: 

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Maria Sharapova melts down at US Open
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Maria Sharapova melts down at US Open
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her first round Women's Singles match against Simona Halep of Romania on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her first round Women's Singles match against Simona Halep of Romania on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her victory over Simona Halep of Romania during their Women's Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament August 28, 2017 in New York. Sharapova marked her first Grand Slam appearance since her doping ban ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over second seed Halep. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia competes against Simona Halep (not seen) of Romania Women's Singles within 2017 US Open Tennis Championships at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, United States on August 28, 2017. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her first round Women's Singles match against Simona Halep of Romania on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to Simona Halep of Romania during their Women's Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament August 28, 2017 in New York. Sharapova marked her first Grand Slam appearance since her doping ban ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over second seed Halep. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during her first round Women's Singles match against Simona Halep of Romania on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep during their 2017 US Open Round 1 Women's Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Romania's Simona Halep reacts after losing a point to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their 2017 US Open Women's Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Russia's Maria Sharapova serves to Romania's Simona Halep during their 2017 US Open Women's Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova (R) of Russia and Simona Halep of Romania meet at the net after their Women's Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament August 28, 2017 in New York.. Sharapova marked her first Grand Slam appearance since her doping ban ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over second seed Halep. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her victory over Simona Halep of Romania during their Women's Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament August 28, 2017 in New York. Sharapova marked her first Grand Slam appearance since her doping ban ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over second seed Halep. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her victory over Simona Halep of Romania during their Women's Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament August 28, 2017 in New York. Sharapova marked her first Grand Slam appearance since her doping ban ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over second seed Halep. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her victory over Simona Halep of Romania during their Women's Singles match at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament August 28, 2017 in New York. Sharapova marked her first Grand Slam appearance since her doping ban ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over second seed Halep. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova (R) of Russia shakes hands with Simona Halep of Romania after defeating her in their first round Women's Singles match on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia gestures after winning against Simona Halep (not seen) of Romania Women's Singles within 2017 US Open Tennis Championships at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, United States on August 28, 2017. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after winning against Simona Halep (not seen) of Romania Women's Singles within 2017 US Open Tennis Championships at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, United States on August 28, 2017. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her first round Women's Singles match against Simona Halep of Romania on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates winning her first round Women's Singles match against Simona Halep of Romania on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - AUGUST 28: Maria Sharapova (L) of Russia celebrates after winning against Simona Halep (R) of Romania Women's Singles within 2017 US Open Tennis Championships at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, United States on August 28, 2017. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FLUSHING MEADOW, NY - AUGUST 28: MARIA SHARAPOVA (RUS) during day one match of the 2017 US Open on August 28, 2017 at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadow, NY.(Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FLUSHING MEADOW, NY - AUGUST 28: MARIA SHARAPOVA (RUS) during day one match of the 2017 US Open on August 28, 2017 at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadow, NY.(Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Sharapova went from dropping five straight games in the second set Monday to winning straight in the decisive third, lifting the 30-year-old to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, first-round victory over second-seeded Simona Halep.

When it was over, she collapsed to the ground and cried while waving to the crowd - not the typical reaction of a five-time Grand Slam champion following a first-round victory.

"I just thought this was another day, another opportunity, but this was so much more," said Sharapova, who simply overpowered her much smaller opponent.

The tournament's female headliner needed a wild card invitation to get into the US Open, and then drew Halep - a two-time Grand Slam finalist - in the first round.

That turned into a bigger problem for Halep, who, after Monday, is 0-7 in her career against Sharapova. Once the force in women's tennis with a marketing potential as strong as her ground strokes, Sharapova hasn't won the US Open in 11 years. She's now 30, past her prime but certainly capable of a long run through the bracket.

She faces 66th-seeded Timea Babos in the second round.

"Behind this sparkly black dress, this girl has grit," Sharapova said.

RELATED: See the stunning tennis star through the years 

32 PHOTOS
Maria Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 8: Maria Sharapova, champion of Grand Slam tournament of the 2014 French Open, pose with her trophy at Trocadero Square of Paris, France on June 8, 2014. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Maria Sharapova poses at Sephora 5th Avenue on August 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sephora)
Maria SharapovaWUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 24: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot during her match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland on day four of 2014 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 24, 2014 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
WUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 24: Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland returns a shot during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia on day four of 2014 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 24, 2014 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images)
WUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 24: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot during her match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland on day four of 2014 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 24, 2014 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky reaches for a ball during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Wuhan Open tennis tournament in Wuhan, in China's Hubei province on September 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates match point against Maria Sharapova of Russia after winning their women's singles fourth round match on Day Seven of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their 2014 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center August 31, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania during their women's singles second round match on Day Three of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 27, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Maria Kirilenko of Russia returns a shot against Maria Sharapova of Russia during her women's singles first round match on Day One of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 25, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LOS CABOS, MEXICO - JULY 09: Tennis player Maria Sharapova smiles during her holidays with her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov (not in frame) on July 09 in Los Cabos, Mexico. (Photo by Humberto Servin/Clasos/LatinContent/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova attends the CFDA Celebrates Fashion Targets Breast Cancer 20th Anniversary event with Maria Sharapova, presented by Porsche at The New Museum on August 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Council of Fashion Designers of America)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Maria Sharapova speaks at a Q&A about being a SELF Made woman hosted by SELF Magazine September cover star Maria Sharapova and Editor-in-Chief Joyce Chang on August 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for SELF Magazine)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after defeating Simona Halep of Romania after a match on Day 7 of the Western & Southern Open on August 15, 2014 at the Linder Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati,Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Tennis player Maria Sharapova arrives at the 2014 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Tennis player Maria Sharapova presents award for Best Game at The 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images For ESPYS)
LOS CABOS, MEXICO - JULY 09: Tennis player Maria Sharapova smiles during her holidays with her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov (not in frame) on July 09 in Los Cabos, Mexico. (Photo by Humberto Servin/Clasos/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts to winning a game against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles fourth round match on day eight of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen backdropped by the Eiffel Tower after her victory on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen backdropped by the Eiffel Tower after her victory on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen backdropped by the Eiffel Tower after her victory on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 8: Maria Sharapova, champion of Grand Slam tournament of the 2014 French Open, pose with her trophy at Trocadero Square of Paris, France on June 8, 2014. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses in front of the Eiffel Tower with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen at Trocadero, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania, on day fifteen of the French Open on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Maria Sharapova of Russia arrives at Trocadero for a photocall, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania, on day fifteen of the French Open on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses at Trocadero, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania, on day fifteen of the French Open on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris on June 8, 2014 a day after winning the Roland Garros French Tennis Open. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her victory with her team, coach Sven Groeneveld, hitting coach Dieter Kindlmann and physiotherapist Jerome Bianchi, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates match point during her women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
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Sharapova missed the last six Grand Slam tournaments after testing positive for meldonium, which was had just been banned by WADA (Sharapova insisted she took the drug for years because of a magnesium deficiency and family history of diabetes). Her suspension was reduced from two years to 15 months, but Monday signified her first Grand Slam since January of 2016.

Sharapova didn't get much of a reaction from a crowd that included Alex Baldwin and Henrik Lundqvist, but they seemed to get behind the Russian as the match developed. Political commentator Megyn Kelly certainly elicited more boos when shown on the Jumbotron.

Sharapova had an issue with her racket in the second set and had it re-gripped with tape by her coach in the stands. She went with another racket and perhaps that served as distraction, because Sharapova started making mistakes and blew a 4-1 lead in the second set.

There's an opening in this tournament without Serena Williams, who is pregnant and expecting in September. Neither Williams nor Sharapova played in the previous two US Opens, and the champions in those tournaments (Angelique Kerber and Flavia Pennetta) are no longer ranked in the top-5.

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