Svet­lana wins at In­dian Wells

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

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.

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