Svetlana wins at Indian Wells
Svetlana Kuznetsova, making a comeback after six months on the sidelines due to a right knee injury, took another step forward on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Andrea Hlavackova in the opening round of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Kuznetsova, twice a Grand Slam champion and two times a runner-up in this $10 million (Dh36.7 million) event, did not play following Wimbledon last season due to the injury and the former world No 2 was ranked No 85 on January 6. She is No 46 now thanks in large part to quarterfinal showings at Sydney, Australia, and in the Australian Open and can continue her climb with a win over No 18 Jelena Jankovic in the second round.
In contrast to Kuznetsova, opening day wasn't a good day for the Americans. Mallory Burdette, a 22-year-old qualifier from Macon, Georgia, was the only one of the quartet in action early on Wednesday to advance to the second round, and she did it by beating another American, 38-year-old Jill Craybas, 6-3, 6-1.
Vania King, 24, started well by winning a first-set tiebreaker from Silvia SolerEspinosa of Spain, but the Spanish Olympian rolled through the next two sets for a 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-1 win. Lauren Davis, a 19-year-old Floridian, was a 6-2, 6-0 loser to 21-yearold Simona Halep of Romania.
Americans Christina McHale, Grace Min and Maria Sanchez played later in the day with McHale, at No 48, meeting No 50 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in one of the potentially closest matches.
Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan, No 93, sprang the first upset of the tournament by toppling No 42 Jie Zheng of China, 6-1, 6-2. Johanna Larson of Sweden, Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa and Olga Govortsova of Belarus were other first day winners.
The women's first round continued and the men's first round got underway on Thursday. All 32 seeded players in both the men's and women's fields have opening round byes.
Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic are the reigning champions. Djokovic, a perfect 12-0 this year, is seeking his third straight Indian Wells title.