MIAMI, FL, USA - Day 2 in Miami will see a number of familiar names in action, including former Top 10 members Daniela Hantuchova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who take on Tsvetana Pironkova and Lourdes Domínguez Lino.
Wednesday, First Round
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL #46) vs. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK #69)
Head-to-head: Hantuchova leads 1-0
Daniela Hantuchova has traditionally enjoyed tennis' annual spring sojourn to the United States, experiencing arguably her finest moments as a WTA player in Indian Wells. However, the Slovak has found success harder to come by in Miami, winning just nine matches in 13 visits to Crandon Park, and after a difficult start to the year she arrives in need of a win.
Luckily for her, Tsvetana Pironkova, Hantuchova's first round opponent is in a bit of a rut at present. The mercurial Bulgarian has fallen at the first hurdle in five of her six events this year, and this, allied with Hantuchova's hardcourt pedigree, will see her start as underdog.
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #45) vs. Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP #78)
Head-to-head: Kuznetsova leads 3-1
One of the good news stories from the opening months of the season has been the return of Svetlana Kuznetsova following six months out with a knee injury. While not altogether surprising given her trophy-laden past, back-to-back quarterfinals in Sydney and the Australian Open were a welcome reminder of what the Russian - who possesses one of the most complete games on tour - is still capable of.
Miami has been good to Kuznetsova in the past - she is a two-time semifinalist and won the title in 2006 - and a relatively kind draw will have whetted her appetite for another good run. First up is teak-tough Lourdes Domínguez Lino. After a strong end to 2012, Domínguez Lino has yet to find her groove this campaign, but, if Kuznetsova's goes walkabout, she is capable of springing a surprise.
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ #35) vs. Zheng Jie (CHN #44)
Head-to-head: Shvedova leads 3-1
As far as comebacks go, Yaroslava Shevdova's 2012 season takes some beating. Having started it outside the Top 100 after an injury-riddled few years, the Kazakh quietly went about rebuilding both her confidence and ranking, eventually finishing the year inside the Top 30 for the first time in her career.
So far, 2013 has not been quite so rewarding, and Shvedova arrives in Miami with just two wins under her belt. Her search for number three continues on Wednesday, against Zheng Jie out on Court 2. On her day, former World No.15 Zheng has the crisp groundstrokes to live with anyone, although she has traditionally struggled when confronted with Shvedova's big all-action game, losing their last three meetings.