Kuznetsova rolls in Indian Wells opener

    5:31 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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    Indian Wells, CA (Sports Network) - Two-time runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova was an easy first-round winner Wednesday at the $5.186 million BNP Paribas Open.

    The former top-five Russian star leveled Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 6-1 in 71 minutes on the hardcourts at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

    The two-time Grand Slam singles champion and former top-five star Kuznetsova, the back-to-back Indian Wells runner-up in 2007 and 2008, will face 2010 champion Jelena Jankovic in the round of 64.

    An all-American affair Wednesday saw Mallory Burdette stifle 38-year-old Jill Craybas 6-3, 6-1.

    In other action involving Americans, Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa overcame Vania King 6-7 (7-9), 6-2, 6-1 and Romanian Simona Halep humbled Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-0.

    Additional Day-1 wins came for Swede Johanna Larsson, South African Chanelle Scheepers, Russian Ksenia Pervak and Belarusian Olga Govortsova.

    Victoria Azarenka beat former champion and fellow former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova in last year's final in the California desert. The two women are this week's top seeds, as current No. 1 Serena Williams is not playing at this lucrative 12-day event.

    Other former Indian Wells champs in the field are former world No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Jankovic, and two-time titlist Daniela Hantuchova.

    All 32 seeds received byes into the second round.

    This Premier Mandatory WTA event will pay its' newest champion $1 million.

    The Sports Network

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