Tennis-Kuznetsova enjoys living on the dark side


Fri, 27 May 18:29:00 2011

Svetlana Kuznetsova is the 2009 champion and has only dropped 11 games on the Paris clay this year but the Russian said she was still just a dark horse to win the French Open.

The 13th seed has brushed past Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova, Romanian Irina Begu and Canadian Rebecca Marino to book a fourth-round meeting with Daniela Hantuchova.

A possible semi-final against defending champion Francesca Schiavone looms and with top seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters knocked out, Kuznetsova's position looks healthy.

"I'm just a dark horse in this tournament," the 25-year-old 2004 U.S. Open champion told Reuters.

"I've been playing well so far and I'll be able to do so for a few more matches.

"Then, I'll consider myself one of them (favourites)."

Nobody is putting much pressure on Kuznetsova who has been kept away from the Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen show courts and the Russian, wearing a flashy pink tracksuit, does not mind at all.

"Maybe they (the organisers) don't like me," she said with a smile. "Well, actually I don't know, maybe because they prefer the French players to be on the big courts."

Kuznetsova, who reached second spot in the WTA rankings in 2007, has had a tough start to the claycourt season, winning three matches in Marbella, Spain last month before losing in the first round in Madrid and Rome.

It prompted her and coach Larisa Savchenko to seek advice from compatriot and 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina.

"Anastasia has just arrived in Paris and we have not talked much yet," Kuznetsova, who had match point against Myskina in the fourth round at Roland Garros seven years ago.

"Basically, she will advise me on tactics, teach me how to be more professional, especially in Moscow because I've been struggling with that as Larisa is not there.

"And she was smart on the court and I can benefit from that."

"I just have to keep on going like this, just be consistent," Kuznetsova said. "I'm alright, I can't complain."


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