WTA Tour

Kuznetsova strolls into second round

Svetlana Kuznetsova (File)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (File)

Wellington - Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova had an easy first round win in the WTA Auckland Classic on Monday when German opponent Mona Barthel retired early in the second set.

Kuznetsova, the tournament fourth seed, headlined the opening day with the top three seeds -- Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic -- not scheduled to appear until Tuesday.

The Russian was rarely troubled in her brief appearance and was ahead 6-2, 1-1 when Barthel withdrew with a stomach complaint.

Despite only a short time on court, the 30-year-old former world number two was satisfied with the way she played, particularly holding serve in the blustery conditions.

"You don't try to play your best in these conditions it's very hard," she said.

"It was important to keep my serve, I was some break points down and it was tough to play with the wind."

Of the other seeds in action on the first day, number five Sloane Stephens from the United States had a comfortable win over Slovakian Polona Hercog 6-3, 6-3, while eighth seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium was beaten by Alexandra Dulgheru from Romania 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, 18, justified her wildcard entry to the main draw with an upset win over Johanna Larsson from Sweden 6-1 7-5.

However, the road ahead gets difficult for the 2014 Junior Wimbledon champion with a likely second-round match against Ivanovic.

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