Jankovic out as Kuznetsova marches on

Updated: 2011-10-02 07:06

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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Jankovic out as Kuznetsova marches on

Tamira Paszek of Austria returns a ball while playing against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the first round of the China Open in Beijing on Saturday. Paszek won, 7-5, 6-4. [Photo by Cui Meng / China Daily]

BEIJING - Svetlana Kuznetsova had to travel a long way to find her lost form.

The two-time Grand Slam winner breezed through her first round at the China Open on Saturday, looking very much like the player who won the event in 2006.

The 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion has watched her world ranking drop to No 19.

But finally, the Russian says, she has "found herself back on the court".

"I think I started to play better here at the end of the year," she said. "At least, I am already closer to my best form."

Kuznetsova advanced to the second round after Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru quit with an injury in the second set. Kuznetsova led, 6-2, 4-1.

"I feel not so good (about this year)," the 26-year-old said. "I just can't find myself on the court. It's kind of messy. I am looking for a way to play confidently."

Compatriot favorite Maria Sharapova and American powerhouse Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament - not that Kuznetsova cares.

"It doesn't matter who plays in the event. I just would like to play against the best player and try to win," the No 16 seed said.

In other matches, world No 12 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia became the highest-ranking to fall on the first day as she was beaten by Tamira Paszek from Austria 7-5, 6-4.

Earlier on the new central court, Italy's world No 8 Francesca Schiavone edged out Serbian teenager Bojana Jovanovski, 6-1, 6-3, in the first round, while Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova stunned Spaniard Anabel Garrigues, 6-3, 6-0, to book a potential second-round clash against defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.

On the men's side, China's Gong Maoxin lost to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili, 6-2, 6-1, in the final qualifying round.

China Daily