Kuznetsova gets off to nervy start

Dulko shock for seeded Azarenka

Kuznetsova gets off to nervy start

On a roll: Argentine Gisela Dulko celebrates after putting out tenth seed Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the French Open at Roland Garros on Sunday. ReutersRobin Soderling followed her on to the stadium clay and was ready from the first swing.
Kuznetsova lost the first six points and first three games on Sunday, then swept nine games in a row and beat Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-1.

Soderling, who ended Rafael Nadal’s reign at the French Open a year ago, won the first nine games and defeated wild card Laurent Recouderc 6-0, 6-2, 6-3.Kuznetsova, seeded sixth, arrived at Roland Garros only 1-3 on clay this year, and she drew a dangerous opening opponent in Cirstea, a quarterfinalist a year ago.

The Russian needed 12 minutes to win a game, but she was in control after that. Three times she rallied to take a game after losing the first three points.Cirstea squandered chances to get back into the match in the second set, when she failed to convert all four break points.

A year ago, Kuznetsova beat Serena Williams en route to her second Grand Slam championship. But she has not won any titles this year and her record is 9-9, the worst of any top-10 woman.

The tournament began in warm, sunny conditions that had spectators fanning themselves, but Soderling didn’t tax himself in the heat. He lost only nine of 58 points on his serve and broke six times.Also advancing were number ten Marin Cilic and number eleven Mikhail Youzhny. Cilic beat Ricardo Mello 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, and Youzhny defeated Michal Przysiezny 6-1, 6-0, 6-4.

In women’s play, No 10 Victoria Azarenka lost to Gisela Dulko 6-1, 6-2. Azarenka had been a quarterfinalist at three of the past four Grand Slam tournaments, including Roland Garros a year ago.

No 15 seed Aravane Rezai of France, coming off a victory over Venus Williams in the Madrid final, wowed the partisan crowd with a black and metallic gold outfit, and also with her game. She beat qualifier Heidi El Tabakh 6-1, 6-1.Varvara Lepchenko won an all-American match-up, ending a streak of seven consecutive losses in Grand Slam matches by beating wild card Christina McHale 7-5, 6-3.

French Open results

First-round results on Sunday (prefix denotes seeding):
Men's singles: Julien Benneteau (Fra) bt 23-Ernests Gulbis (Lat) 6-4, 6-2, 1-0 (Gulbis retired); 32-Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Esp) bt Rainer Schuettler (Ger) 7-5, 6-4, 6-2; 29-Albert Montanes (Esp) bt Stefano Galvani (Ita) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; Fabio Fognini (Ita) bt Nicolas Massu (Chi) 6-1, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3; 5-Robin Soederling (Swe) bt Laurent Recouderc (Fra) 6-0, 6-2, 6-3; 11-Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) bt Michal Przysiezny (Pol) 6-1, 6-0, 6-4; Thiemo de Bakker (Net) bt Olivier Patience (Fra) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3; Alejandro Falla (Col) bt Janko Tipsarevic (Ser) 6-1, 6-2, 6-3; 10-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Ricardo Mello (Bra) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Women’s singles: Johanna Larsson (Swe) bt Anastasija Sevastova (Lat) 6-2, 6-2; Yvonne Meusburger (Aus) bt Claire Feuerstein (Fra) 7-6(7-4), 6-3; 30-Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt Karolina Sprem (Cro) 7-6(7-5), 6-4; Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb) bt 20-Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Esp) 6-2, 6-4.
14-Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Anne Keothavong (Bri) 6-2, 6-2; 15-Aravane Rezai (Fra) bt Heidi El Tabakh (Can) 6-1, 6-1; Gisela Dulko (Arg) bt 10-Victoria Azarenka (Bel) 6-1, 6-2; Andrea Petkovic (Ger) bt Elena Vesnina (Rus) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; Varvara Lepchenko (US) bt Christina McHale (US) 7-5, 6-3; Chanelle Scheepers (SA) bt Mathilde Johansson (Fra) 6-2, 6-4; 6-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) bt Sorana Cirstea (Rom) 6-3, 6-1; 26-Dominika Cibulkova (Slo) bt Ekaterina Ivanova (Russia) 6-2, 6-0.

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