MIAMI, FL, USA - The first round of the Sony Open Tennis came to a close with 22 matches on Wednesday, and the only former champion in action made a smooth progression to the second round, as Svetlana Kuznetsova battled past Lourdes Domínguez Lino in straight sets over on Court 1, 63 63.
There was one rough patch - from 5-1 up in the first set Kuznetsova lost five of the next six games, closing out the set but falling behind 3-0 in the second set - but the Russian brushed that patch off and reeled off the last six games of the match to finish the Spaniard off in an hour and 10 minutes.
Miami has been one of Kuznetsova's best stops in the past, not only winning the title in 2006 but making the semifinals twice more, in 2008 (losing to eventual champion Serena Williams in three sets) and 2009 (losing to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka in three sets). And she has also captured the doubles title twice before, in 2005 (with Alicia Molik) and 2009 (with Amélie Mauresmo).
A pair of marathon wins for veterans also highlighted the day's play, beginning with Anabel Medina Garrigues' 57 64 76(3) win over Alexandra Dulgheru - Medina Garrigues was actually down 75 42 but battled back and eventually overcame the Romanian in exactly three hours. A little bit later on, Francesca Schiavone battled for two hours and 41 minutes to squeak past Jana Cepelova, 57 64 64.
Other winners on Day 2 of play were Urszula Radwanska, Laura Robson, Zheng Jie, Magdalena Rybarikova, Christina McHale, Simona Halep, Romina Oprandi, Olga Govortsova, Jamie Hampton, Daniela Hantuchova, Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, Stefanie Voegele, Garbiñe Muguruza, Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova, Donna Vekic, Eugenie Bouchard, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Victoria Duval.
"I think that first set was really important - it could have gone either way," Duval said afterwards. "But I wasn't really nervous. I felt really comfortable out there. There's more of a stress factor when you play your peers, because maybe you're expected to win, but right now I'm still just getting to know the tour, so I'm playing a lot of these players for the first time and have no pressure to win."
Some might remember Duval from last year's US Open, where she made her WTA main draw debut and had the dubious task of facing Kim Clijsters in the first match of the Belgian's final tournament - Clijsters went on to win that one in straight sets before falling to Robson in the second round.
What does Duval think of the transition she has been making from the juniors to the pros?
"Everything these girls do is good - they're crazy fit and hit it really hard," she said. "I think I make up for the power with my movement but I want to improve everything, get stronger, get fitter, and keep working on my speed because that's what I rely on, and I can always improve that as well."
The second round of the Sony Open Tennis begins with the top half of the draw on Thursday.