Australian Open: Kuznetsova sends out signal of intent

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Australian Open: Kuznetsova sends out signal of intent

Post by forhad725 on Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:00 am

Australian Open: Kuznetsova sends out signal of intent

Tuesday January 15, 2008
MELBOURNE (PA SPORT) - Svetlana Kuznetsova proved that she is far from a false number two seed at the Australian Open, dismissing France's Nathalie Dechy in straight sets on Tuesday and sounding a warning to her rivals.

The 22-year-old, who has by far the easier half of the draw, looked untroubled in seeing off the former Australian Open semi-finalist on Rod Laver Arena in a little over an hour, 6-3 6-1.

While Dechy has not won a match in Melbourne since making the final four in 2005, it was hard to fault Kuznetsova's game, as she had 17 winners to Dechy's eight.

She joined fellow seeds Anna Chekvetadze, Daniela Hantuchova, Alona Bondarenko, Maria Kirilenko and Sania Mirza in the final 64.

Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic are the only other prominent name on that side of the draw, with the eighth seed getting her campaign under way against China's Yan Zi on Tuesday night, while the Croatian number four seed has a late afternoon match on Vodafone Arena.

Kuznetsova, who was beaten in the final in Sydney by world number one Justin Henin last week and at last year's US Open, said she is happy to slip under the radar for now and is not worried that she does not have the profile of other players.

"I don't care about my profile; I care about my game," she said.

"Attention is definitely good. But too much attention is not good.

"I try to really focus on my game. This is what I take care of, and I want to really focus on that," she said.

Kuznetsova feels she has ironed out the inconsistencies in her game in the past few months and believes she has the confidence to go progress in the tournament.

"I go on the court and I feel more consistent that I can change things. Even if I'm not playing well, I always have Plan B or I can always control myself," she said.

Number nine seed Hantuchova made light work of her opening round match, defeating American Vania King in straight sets 6-3 7-5.

The 24-year-old, competing in her eighth Australian Open, had no troubles in the first match on Margaret Court Arena - progressing in just under two hours.

Sixth seed Chakvetadze had and even easier time and did not have to hit a ball in anger to progress. Her opponent, Andrea Petkovic, withdrew with an injury suffered in the warm-up.

Number 27 seed Kirilenko needed three sets to see off Meilen Tu 6-4 4-6 6-3, Mirza (31) dismissed Iroda Tulyaganova 6-4 6-2, Bondarenko (21) defeated Alla Kudryavtseva 6-4 7-6 and Radwanska (28) dropped just one game against Olga Savchuk.

Hungarian Agnes Szavay, the number 20 seed, departed after a three-set defeat by Ekaterina Makorova, 6-3 6-4 7-5.
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