Champion Kuznetsova into round two

Russian beats Romanain Sorana Cirstea in two sets as Soderling also through in men's.

    Cirstea couldn't keep up the pressure after winning the first three games [GALLO/GETTY]

    Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova secured her place in the second round of the French Open at Roland Garros after shrugging off miserable clay-court form.

    The sixth seed recovered from a terrible start, losing the first three games, to kick off her Paris campaign with a 6-3 6-1 win over Romanian Sorana Cirstea on Sunday.

    "It was surprising for me, because I felt I had been preparing and giving my best in practice, and I was not having as good results as I would have liked," Kuznetsova said on Sunday.

    "But I knew this moment had to pass because I deserve better than that, and I worked harder than these results. I was just concerned about when it was going to pass."

    Last season Kuznetsova, 24, compiled an imperious 17-3 claycourt record on the European swing before bursting through the pack to claim her second Grand Slam crown in Paris.

    This time round her record was a paltry 1-3, losing her last three matches before arriving in Paris, and a fourth consecutive defeat on the slowest surface loomed when she dropped the first three games.

    Sunsoaked

    But she got her act together to see off the world number 34 on a sunsoaked centre court where close friend Amelie Mauresmo was watching from the stands.

    She clinched nine games in a row after the shaky opening, wrapping it up on her second match point with a backhand passing shot.

    Kuznetsova will face German Andrea Petkovic in the second round.

    Last year's men's finalist Robin Soderling of Sweden beat Frenchman Laurent Recouderc 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 to cruise into the second round.

    The fifth-seeded Soderling lost only five points in the first set and won the first nine games in Paris on Sunday.

    Recouderc called a trainer while trailing 5-2 in the second set to receive treatment for a blister problem on his right hand but couldn't hold his serve when he returned to the court.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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