It’s somewhat strange to see a Grand Slam champion in qualifying rounds of a WTA event, but that’s exactly what US Open and Roland Garros winner Svetlana Kuznetsova had to go through to earn her place in the Apia International Sydney main draw. However, getting some additional match play turned out to be beneficial. In the first round, the Russian, who had spent six months recovering from a knee injury, beat Julia Goerges 3-6 6-3 6-3 and followed it up with an upset of former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. The match against the seventh-seeded Wozniacki was played in sweltering heat and lasted almost four hours, 7-6(4) 1-6 6-2. Here’s how Kuznetsova, who finished last season as early as at Wimbledon, commented on her renewed self:
Before the break I was losing to Goerges, I was losing to Wozniacki, every time I was up and had chances and could never close those matches. Now, after the break, I just feel fresh, I feel happy, I feel balanced on the court. I feel I’m doing the right things when I have to do them.
Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska advanced, beating Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-4 6-3, but later said that it was the hottest day she ever experienced on court and thought the organizers should have postponed the action. To remind you, Radwanska came to Sydney fresh off her title in Auckland. Another last week’s titlist was victorious on Tuesday – Shenzhen winner Li Na continued her perfect start to the season with a quick 6-1 6-0 victory over Ayumi Morita, even though she felt like playing in a sauna.
Upcoming quarterfinal matches: Agnieszka Radwanska  vs. Roberta Vinci, Li Na vs. Madison Keys (the 16-year-old Keys scored her first Top 20 win in the first round against Lucie Safarova and is now through to her first WTA quarterfinal with a win over Zheng Jie), Dominika Cibulkova vs. Sara Errani , Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Angelique Kerber . (photo: sr_cranks)