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Grand Slam Winners Win In Moscow

Svetlana Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur were among the winners as the first round wrapped up and the second round kicked off at the Kremlin Cup. Alisa Kleybanova had a very meaningful day too.

Published October 16, 2013 12:04

Grand Slam Winners Win In Moscow
Svetlana Kuznetsova

MOSCOW, Russia - The first round wrapped up and the second round began at the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday, though it was a very mixed day for the seeds at the Premier-level tournament.

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There was actually only one first round match left and it was Sam Stosur's. Coming off her second WTA title of the year in Osaka, the No.7-seeded Australian lost just nine points in eight service games - and didn't even lose a point on serve in the second set - to beat Kaia Kanepi in 65 minutes, 63 61.

Stosur had lost her only previous meeting with Kanepi in straight sets, at Wimbledon in 2010.

"Kaia can be a really dangerous opponent, so I really tried to start out the match well and on top and I feel like I kind of carried on from Osaka," Stosur commented. "I thought I played really well today."

After a season plagued by injury and inconsistency, Stosur finds herself down at No.19 in the world at the moment - it would be a tough ask to finish in the Top 10 this year, which she has done the last three years. But the former World No.4 is making one last push to get as close as she possibly can.

"My goal is to keep winning as many matches as I can," Stosur said. "Obviously my ranking has slipped a little bit, so if I can just get it a little bit higher, it would be great to finish the season on a high. I hope to keep playing well this week, then some good practice next week, and then to Sofia."

One of the first second round matches of the day saw No.8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova close out Swedish qualifier Sofia Arvidsson, 62 75. Arvidsson led 4-2 in the second set and had a point for 5-2.

"It was a difficult match," Kuznetsova said. "Sofia came into the match with a lot of confidence - she has been playing and winning many matches - but I managed to make it through. It was hard, but I was playing better than I did in my first match. I'm getting better with every match, which is important."

Later in the day, Kuznetsova held a very popular autograph session, signing for swarms of fans - the two-time Grand Slam champion and former No.2 was touched at all of the support they showed her.

"It means a lot to me, but it also means a lot to them, which makes me happier," Kuznetsova said. "They are excited to meet pro athletes. I'm happy to do something that makes other people happy."

Kuznetsova and Stosur are playing doubles together here, winning their first match on Tuesday.

"We played the US Open and Beijing together, too - it's just a bit of fun to play with Svetlana," Stosur said. "And obviously playing here in her hometown, everyone knows her and supports us a lot.

"Hopefully we can have a good tournament together!"

The next few matches were upsets, with Russian wildcard Alisa Kleybanova slamming 11 aces and battling back from 4-2 down in the second set to pick off No.6 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, 76(2) 64, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beating No.3 seed Maria Kirilenko in an all-Russian duel, 63 63.

It was a particularly special victory for Kleybanova - this is the first time since her Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis more than two years ago that she has reached a WTA quarterfinal, or won back-to-back WTA main draw matches at all. The Russian made a full comeback to WTA competiton this summer.

No.2 seed Roberta Vinci stopped the pattern at night with a 26 61 64 victory over Elena Vesnina.

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