Kuznetsova Grinds Past Wozniacki
Published January 08, 2013 12:00
SYDNEY, Australia - Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na continued their perfect starts to the 2013 season on a very hot Tuesday afternoon in Australia, moving into the quarterfinals of the Premier-level Apia International Sydney with straight set wins over a pair of Japanese qualifiers.
Watch live action from Sydney all week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!Radwanska, last week's Auckland champion and the No.1 seed in Sydney, was broken in the first game of her match but eventually made it past Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, 64 63.
"I couldn't imagine a better start to the year," Radwanska said. "It was my first time in Auckland, and I had a really good couple of matches there, some really good preparation before coming here."
The World No.4 was asked about her goals for 2013. "The goals every year are pretty much the same - being No.1 and winning the Grand Slams," she said. "Last year I was very close to both of them."
Which Grand Slam does she think she has the best shot at? "On grass I was really close, and I really like that surface. I've done well on it since the junior times. So grass or hardcourt, but I don't think clay!"
Li, who won the Shenzhen title last week and is the No.4 seed this week, took just 52 minutes and ran off the last eight games of the match to beat Japanese rising star Ayumi Morita, 61 60.
The World No.6 had an intensive off-season with Carlos Rodriguez, Justine Henin's longtime coach whom she started working with last summer, and she has big goals for 2013. "I really want to be Top 3 or win another Grand Slam," she said. "Me and my whole team will work so hard to reach it."
The other Top 4 seeds in action also won in straights, though one nearly went to a third - No.2 seed Angelique Kerber had to rally from a 5-2 second set deficit, saving three set points down 5-4, en route to a 62 75 win over Galina Voskoboeva. Elsewhere, No.3 seed Sara Errani routed Maria Kirilenko, 61 61.
The only other seed in action was No.7 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who lost a 76(4) 16 62 decision to Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.2 who just recently came back from a six-month knee injury lay-off and had to come through the qualies this week.
"Before the break I was losing to Goerges, I was losing to Wozniacki, every time I was up and had chances and could never close those matches," Kuznetsova said. "Now, after the break, I just feel fresh, I feel happy, I feel balanced on the court. I feel I'm doing the right things when I have to do them.
"I'm definitely far away from where I want to be at, but I like how it looks at the moment."
Wozniacki was asked whether Kuznetsova is playing better than her current ranking of No.85. "For sure - she's a top player and she'll definitely get her ranking up," Wozniacki said. "Svetlana's a good player - she's a great player. She's won big tournaments in the past so she knows what it takes."
Rounding out the quarterfinals were Dominika Cibulkova, who rallied from 5-3 down in the third set to beat Ekaterina Makarova, 76(3) 16 76(1); Roberta Vinci, who came from 3-0 down in the second set and 4-2 down in the third to beat Jelena Jankovic, 36 64 76(4); and, in by far the biggest surprise, American qualifier Madison Keys, who burst out to a 60 31 lead against Zheng Jie and closed it out, 60 64.
The 17-year-old Keys, who scored her first Top 20 win over Lucie Safarova in the first round on Monday, is now through to the first WTA quarterfinal of her blossoming career.