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Sveta Victorious In Fès First Round

Svetlana Kuznetsova put her Fed Cup disappointment behind her in beating Eleni Daniilidou in Fès on Tuesday.

Published April 24, 2012 10:13

Sveta Victorious In Fès First Round
Svetlana Kuznetsova

FÈS, Morocco - Recovering from a dramatic weekend of Fed Cup action, No.2 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova made it through to the second round of the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem on Tuesday.

Kuznetsova beat Ana Ivanovic on Saturday but fell to Jelena Jankovic on Sunday in a match that could have extended Russia's semifinal loss to Serbia to a fifth and deciding match. Nevertheless, she defeated Eleni Daniilidou, 61 75, in her Fès opener. However, she had to rally from a 5-2, two-break deficit in a second set that included a set point for Daniilidou.

"It was tough because Fed Cup was indoors and I was really tired," Kuznetsova said. "I had a little bit of trouble with my movement and concentration in the second set, but I'm happy to get through in two sets."

The only previous time Kuznetsova played this event was 2002, when it was held about 150 miles away in Casablanca. In fact, she made her first career semifinal that week.

"This is my first clay court outdoor tournament of the year, so I'm looking forward to getting some matches in," Kuznetsova said.

Also advancing in straight sets was third-seeded Czech Petra Cetkovska, 64 62, over Melinda Czink.

"It was really a tough match," said Cetkovska, who reached her career-high of No.28 earlier this month and is currently ranked No.30. "She's a great player who is coming back from an injury. She won two matches in qualifying. I'm really happy because first round matches are always difficult, especially with the tough conditions here."

One of the day's most dramatic battles involved No.8 seed Shahar Peer needing five match points before prevailing in almost three hours over Magdalena Rybarikova, 57 63 75.

"As much as I was frustrated, I kept fighting and I was aggressive in the right moments, in the last few games especially. I think that was important," Peer said. "It was a long match. I think I should have finished it off earlier, but I'm really happy that I won. Hopefully, I'll sleep well tonight."

Also thrilling was the resumption of a match that was knotted at 5-5 in the third when it was suspended by darkness Monday. Despite having three match points against her in the third set tie-break, Arantxa Rus survived seventh-seeded Klara Zakopalova, 64 57 76(9), for her first main draw win of the year.

Finally, No.5 seed Simona Halep moved on when Fatima Zahrae El Allami retired with a stomach illness after losing the first set, 6-1. The Romanian's two best career results - runner-up showings in 2010 and 2011 - both occurred here. She is now 11-2 at this event, including qualifying matches.

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