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Sveta Saves Match Points

Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points and will live another day in her French Open title defense.

Published May 26, 2010 12:00

Sveta Saves Match Points
Andrea Petkovic

PARIS, France - Svetlana Kuznetsova made a great escape from an early exit in her French Open title defense on Wednesday, saving four match points to beat Andrea Petkovic in a marathon on Court 1, 46 75 64.

Kuznetsova, who won her second Grand Slam title here last year and is seeded No.6 this year, trailed 64 53 against the hard-hitting Petkovic and even faced triple match point down 64 54; she saved them all, and a fourth one in the same game at that, won the second set and stormed ahead 5-2 in the third.

It didn't end so quickly, though. Kuznetsova squandered three of her own match points - one at 5-2, one at 5-3 and one at 5-4 - before finally closing it out.

"I was thinking, 'I really want to be here. This is what I really want the most. The one thing in the world I want is to be here right now, and I want to win so badly,'" Kuznetsova said. "I just hoped. I was still going to do my best. I was going to do my best, just put balls in and see what happens."

Petkovic, 22 years old and Germany's No.1 player, has had a Top 10 win before - over Kuznetsova, at Tokyo last year. She is ranked No.41 in the world.

"On the match points I just rushed. I wanted to make the winner immediately, and that's why I missed," Petkovic said. "It's sad and disappointing, but it's okay. I played a good match, all in all. That's why she's a Grand Slam champion and I haven't passed the second round yet. But there is still a lot of time."

Check out off-court pics of the players in Paris right here!

In the very first match on Philippe Chatrier, No.2 seed Venus Williams beat Arantxa Parra Santonja, 62 64. Read more about that match here.

Other Top 16 seeds in action all moved through, with No.3 seed Caroline Wozniacki rolling past Tathiana Garbin, 63 61; No.14 seed Flavia Pennetta beating good friend and fellow Italian Roberta Vinci, 61 61; and No.15 seed Aravane Rezai surviving a streaky one against Angelique Kerber, 62 26 63.

"I wanted to forget about the Australian Open because that wasn't a match, really," said Rezai, who lost to Kerber in straight sets in Melbourne this year. "I was not the same player. I missed a lot of shots there - today I fought from beginning to end. It's another mindset. That's what made the difference today."

No.19 seed Nadia Petrova, No.26 seed Dominika Cibulkova, No.30 seed Maria Kirilenko and No.31 seed Alexandra Dulgheru also advanced. No.24 seed Lucie Safarova was upset, falling quietly to Polona Hercog, 61 62.

In matches involving unseeded players, Akgul Amanmuradova beat Johanna Larsson, 76(2) 62, and qualifier Chanelle Scheepers beat Gisela Dulko, 36 63 64. Amanmuradova is only the second Uzbek ever to reach the third round here (after Iroda Tulyaganova), and Scheepers is the first South African to reach the third round of a Grand Slam since Amanda Coetzer at the 2003 US Open.

"Yesterday, after my doubles match, I started feeling sick," said Dulko, who had upset Victoria Azarenka in the first round. "I was throwing up all day and couldn't eat or drink for over 24 hours. I was feeling very weak during the match and had to see the doctor right after. He told me I have a fever and a virus and right now, I feel terrible and can't move. I'll wait for him to do more tests..."

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