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Svetlana strolls into the second round

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
By Orla Coady

No4 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova eased her way into the second round with a straightforward win over Japan’s Aiko Nakamura 6-2 6-3 in little over an hour.

World No71 Nakamura was no match for Kuznetsova’s pace and was completely outplayed from the start. The Japanese player has never been beyond the first round at Roland Garros and that statistic was never likely to change today. Nakamura hits double-handed off both wings like her idol Monica Seles but without the former champion’s speed or accuracy.

With the first set going to the former US Open Champion in under half an hour, it looked from her body language as though Nakamura had given up the ghost at the start of the second. However she hung on and although she never looked like challenging Kuznetsova’s serve, by 3-2 she looked a lot more solid on her own and seemed to be playing with more confidence. It was not to last. At deuce on Nakamura’s serve at 3-3, there was a break in play as man was taken ill in the crowd and had to be removed from the stadium. Two errors later and Kuznetsova took the break for the first time in the third set.

It was all one way traffic from there on. The Russian held serve and broke again to take the match on a backhand error down the line from the Japanese players.

The 22-year-old former world No2 who was recently chosen by the newly retired Justine Henin as the one she would like to see inherit her title has reason to be optimistic about her chances after today’s powerful performance and now faces either American Vania King or Frenchwoman Violette Huck in next round.

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