Juggling Kuznetsova quietly slips into round three


Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:53

Ask most players what they would be doing in a life without tennis, and many it seems have a burning desire to use their feet.

Take Svetlana Kuznetsova, who looked every inch a third favourite for the Australian Open crown after storming her way to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

So comfortable was the 2009 quarter finalist on her way to victory, she turned to a fine old game of keepy-uppy in front of a modest Rod Laver crowd.

[Juggling] just distracts me and it’s better for me, said the third seed after breezing into round three.

It leaves the tension away. Also I entertain people. It’s also nice. I’m just being myself, being creative, doing things I have to do, and enjoying it. I don’t do today my best today yet. I can do better.

Does she refer to her tennis, or to her football skills? Wed like to think the latter, but its a scary thought if shes talking about the former. Nailing 29 winners and conceding just four games in a little over an hour, Kuznetsova looks in sparkling form ahead of her hunt for a third Grand Slam title.

The former US Open and defending French Open champ has been loitering under the radar while the eight former world no.1s present in the draw on day one took centre stage.

With the attention elsewhere, Kuznetsova hopes to match and raise her run to the quarters in Melbourne last year. Knocking aside the world No.39 Pavlyucheknova in straight sets, her only gripe was a less than fluid service performance in the opening set.

Overall I think I played aggressive. I played well. The only thing I lost two serves in the first set. I had very low percentage, 40 per cent. I don’t think is good enough, said the 24-year-old.

Elsewhere, Caroline Wozniacki safely negotiated her delayed opening round tie with Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak. After defeating her (almost) namesake 6-4, 6-2 at the Hisense Arena on Wednesday after the fixture fell victim to a rainy day one, the US Open finalist admitted she is trying to ignore the inevitable expectation after her career best form in 2009.

“I always just look one match at a time and I want to win and that’s my goal I try not to put more pressure on myself than I already do, said the world No.4.

Kim Clijsters – who sealed her second US Open title with victory over Wozniacki at Flushing Meadows – was made to work hard by Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand before eventually prevailing 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 39 minutes.

Maria Kirilenko continued her charge after knocking out Maria Sharapova on day one, defeating Yvonne Meusburger 6-3, 6-1, while Yanina Wickmayer forced to qualify for Melbourne after her suspension for missing drugs tests- raced through the second set to blaze past 12th seed Flavia Pennetta 7-6, 6-1.

Dinara Safina has earned a third round tie with Britain’s Elena Baltacha after both stormed through in straight sets.

Shahar Peer is also through, while No.7 seed Victoria Azarenka dismantled world no.116 Stephanie Cohen-Aloro in 63 minutes, dropping just two games in the opening set in the process.


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.