Kuznetsova survives tough start in Eastbourne
By Clare Fallon
EASTBOURNE (Reuters) – Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova
survived a tough first outing on the Eastbourne grass to beat
Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 1-6 6-1 6-2 on Tuesday.
Kuznetsova, the fourth seed, became the first woman into
the quarter-finals of the $600,000 Wimbledon warm-up event.
A first-round bye appeared to have done the Russian few
favors. Sugiyama, 30, was 4-1 up before Kuznetsova even began
to fight back and the Japanese took advantage of a double fault
to take the set 6-1.
Kuznetsova, who will celebrate her 31st birthday during
Wimbledon fortnight, came out with all guns blazing in the
second set and went two games up for the loss of just one
Though she still occasionally overhit in the breezy
conditions she rattled through the set in 23 minutes.
The crucial break of the third set came in the sixth game
when Sugiyama put a backhand wide. At 5-2 the Japanese saved
one match point but Kuznetsova sent a backhand winner down the
line on the second.
Kuznetsova, who lost in the French Open final to Justine
Henin-Hardenne 10 days ago, said the sea breezes and the new
grass on center court had made conditions difficult.
“It was so windy in the first two games,” she told
reporters. “I got broken and she got confident. In the second
set I hit a little bit stronger.”
Fifth seed Anastasia Myskina made short work of Slovak
qualifier Jarmila Gajdosova, winning 6-3 6-0 in 54 minutes.
The former French Open champion came back from 3-1 down in
the first set and did not let Gajdosova win another game.
The Russian, however, had to save four break points in the
ninth game of the first set when, riled by a series of
controversial line calls, she hit three double faults as she
struggled to bring her anger under control.
Russian Vera Dushevina killed off local hopes when she beat
British number one Anne Keothavong 6-1 6-3 in the first round.
Dushevina, who reached the final in this seaside resort
last year, had to save five break points in the seventh game of
the opening set.
She raced 4-1 ahead in the second set, helped by a double
fault from Keothavong on break point in the third game, before
the Briton staged a brief rally, breaking for 4-2 and winning
the following game to love.
A series of errors by Keothavong allowed Dushevina to break
again in the ninth game and she will now face seventh seed
Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany, who beat Frenchwoman Marion
Bartoli 2-6 6-4 6-2.
The leading seeds, led by world number one Amelie Mauresmo,
join the action on Wednesday after first-round byes.