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Kuznetsova Rekindles That Winning Feeling

Svetlana Kuznetsova scored her best victory since her triumph at the French Open in 2009.

Published June 01, 2012 12:00

Kuznetsova Rekindles That Winning Feeling
Svetlana Kuznetsova

PARIS, France - She's done it before, but it can be called a comeback of sorts - Svetlana Kuznetsova scored her biggest win in almost three years at the French Open, beating Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round, 61 62.

The No.26-seeded Kuznetsova put on an impressive display of aggressive clay court tennis in front of the Court Philippe Chatrier crowds, combining strong serving with huge topspin forehands to dominate the No.3-seeded Radwanska, finishing with a lethal +16 winners-to-errors differential (27 winners to 11 errors).

"She was doing everything right today and I really couldn't do anything," Radwanska said. "After a couple of minutes I was 5-0 down. She was playing very aggressive from both sides, and she had an answer for everything I was trying to do. I don't think I played badly, but she was just playing unbelievable.

"I didn't expect that good tennis. She was just too good."

"I haven't played that well in a long time," Kuznetsova said. "I was in control of my things. When I feel in control of my moves and am not depending so much on my opponent, it brings me the best feelings. That's why I really enjoy tennis, that's why I love tennis. And I haven't had this feeling for quite some time."

Kuznetsova has always played well against Radwanska - that was her sixth straight win against the Pole, and she leads the overall head-to-head, 10-3.

"I think Agnieszka is a great player and reads the game unbelievable," Kuznetsova said. "When you watch her play, she doesn't overpower you, but she counterattacks very well. I have to dictate against her and never let go."

Kuznetsova's win over the World No.3 was her first Top 3 win since she won this tournament in 2009 - she beat the Top 2 players in the world that tournament, No.2 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals and No.1 Dinara Safina in the final.

Next up for Kuznetsova is No.21 seed Sara Errani, who was two games away from defeat against Ana Ivanovic at 5-all in the second set but dug deep to beat the No.13 seed and former French Open champion in three, 16 75 63.

"I was really pleased the way I started - I was really aggressive and created a lot of opportunities for myself," Ivanovic said. "Then in the second and third sets she started raising her level a lot and putting a lot more on the ball. I started getting flatfooted and hitting more unforced errors as the match went on.

"At least I was going for my shots, being aggressive and doing the things I should be doing. It's my game, and I just have to be persistent with it."

Kuznetsova has beaten Errani in all five of their previous meetings.

Also among the early winners was No.2 seed Maria Sharapova, who was actually still playing the second round - her match was cancelled on Thursday due to darkness. But she caught up quickly, routing Ayumi Morita, 61 61, allowing the Japanese just one winner in the match. Three days ago she allowed her first round opponent, Romania's Alexandra Cadantu, zero winners.

"I was happy with the way I played today," Sharapova said. "I had never faced my opponent before, and when she has time she really goes for her shots, so I wanted to get her on the move. I was aggressive and moved in when I had to.

"With every round I'm going to be playing tougher opponents, and that's when you really want to raise your level. That's what I'll try to do in the next round."

Next up for Sharapova is No.28 seed Peng Shuai, who won her second round match Thursday. Sharapova leads Peng in their head-to-head series, 3-1.

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