Kuznetsova in Open contention once again
Updated: 2013-06-03 08:11
By Agence France-Presse in Paris (China Daily)
Spain's David Ferrer returns to South Africa's Kevin Anderson during their French Open round of 16 match at Roland Garros in Paris on Sunday. Ferrer won 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Kenzo Tribouillard / Agence France-Presse
The 2009 champion fights past Kerber to reach the quarterfinals
Svetlana Kuznetsova gave warning that she can still contend at Grand Slams on Sunday by defeating eighth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany to reach the French Open quarterfinals.
The 27-year-old Russian won the second of her two major titles in Paris in 2009, but since then she has struggled with injuries and loss of form, slipping to 85th in the world rankings at the start of the year.
But a run into the Australian Open quarterfinals boosted her confidence and she once again, as an unseeded player, drew inspiration from the claycourts at Roland Garros to record her best win of the year.
Kerber was under pressure on serve early on, but she was the one to grab the first service break of the match to take a 4-3 lead.
She handed that back immediately and the more aggressive Kuznetsova then won the next two games, sealing the set with a crosscourt forehand winner.
The Russian made it five games in a row to lead 2-0 in the second before Kerber stopped the rot with a break of her own to level at 2-2.
The German went on to break again in the ninth game and served out to level the match.
But it was Kuznetsova who dominated the deciding set, winning four games in a row to lead 4-1 and then holding serve twice.
Next up for Kuznetsova will be top seed Serena Williams. The top-seeded American needed just 70 minutes to cruise past Italy's Roberta Vinci, the world No 1 doubles player, 6-1, 6-3, to reach quarterfinals.
It was Williams' 28th straight victory - the longest streak of her career - and underlined her title potential as her superior power overwhelmed her Italian challenger.
The 31-year-old Williams had won four straight tournaments coming in to Roland Garros.
The Russian defeated Williams in the quarterfinals on her way to the title in 2009.
The only French Open success to date among her 15 Grand Slam titles came 11 years ago, and her problems on the claycourts were again in evidence last year, when she crashed out in the first round.
On the men's side, David Ferrer, the quiet man of tennis, reached the quarterfinals for the fourth time as the Spanish fourth seed, who was a semifinalist in 2012, breezed past South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-1, 6-1.
The 31-year-old has made the last eight without dropping a set and goes on to an all-Spanish quarterfinal against either 11th seed Nicolas Almagro or 32nd seed Tommy Robredo.
Ferrer leads Almagro, 13-0, in his career, while boasting a 6-2 lead over Robredo.
"I have faced other Spanish players many times. Whoever I face, it'll be a difficult match," Ferrer said.
"Nico has great power; Tommy is very solid. It will be a long physical match."
Anderson, the 27th seed, was bidding to become the first South African to reach the last-eight at Roland Garros since Cliff Drysdale in 1968, but his challenge was fatally undermined by 41 unforced errors on a sun-kissed Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Despite the defeat, he took heart from equaling his best run at a major.
"I am making improvements. I just came up a bit short today," he said.
(China Daily 06/03/2013 page24)