Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Federer, Kuznetsova move up at Oz Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia -- French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova became the first player into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-2 win Wednesday over fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The third-seeded Kuznetsova was dominant after taking a 5-1 lead in the first set by breaking Pavlyuchenkova's first two service games.

She got on top of most rallies with a strong forehand and had 27 winners against only seven for Pavlyuchenkova.

Kuznetsova, who has two Grand Slam singles championships -- adding the French last year to her win at the 2004 U.S. Open -- has a chance to reach the No. 1 ranking for the first time if she clinches the Australian Open title.

In eight previous trips to Melbourne Park, Kuznetsova has advanced to the quarter-finals twice, including last year when she lost to eventual champion Serena Williams after being up a set and a break.

This year, the 24-year-old Russian is feeling more confident of winning.

"Yes, definitely, I know all the way how to go -- I've done it twice," Kuznetsova said. "It's exciting. You always have different motivation at the Grand Slams -- I love to play here."

No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who lost the U.S. Open final to Kim Clijsters in September, had a 6-4, 6-2 first-round win over Blainville, Que., native Aleksandra Wozniak.

Roger Federer hadn't dropped a set in the opening round of a major for six years and was on track to continue that run when he was a break up against Igor Andreev, whose girlfriend Maria Kirilenko ousted 2008 champion Maria Sharapova on the opening day at Melbourne Park.

Andreev rallied, breaking the 15-time Grand Slam winner twice to take the first set. The Russian had three set points on serve to take a 2-1 lead, but each time he was undone by a forehand error and Federer withstood the challenge -- breaking to force a tiebreaker and then dominating the rest of the way in his 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-0 first-round win.

"I think I definitely got lucky to get out of that one. It was a fortunate third set," Federer said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 20, 2010 C5

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