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Kvitova Struggles as Sharapova, Kuznetsova Advance

Cold and windy conditions in the desert at the BNP Paribas Open didn't stop many of the top women's seeds from advancing into the third round.

By Erik Gudris

Maria Sharapova(March 9th, 2013) -- Spring may be around the corner, but for many of the women playing at the BNP Paribas Open yesterday was definitely a day to bundle up as high winds and below normal temperatures were a factor in continuing early round action.

No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova found herself tested by the windy conditions and the determination of her opponent Olga Govortsova who pushed the Czech to three sets. Kvitova racked up a high number of unforced errors but hung on to win 6-4,3-6, 6-3.

The chilly conditions didn't stop some of the other top seeds from cruising into the third round. In a battle of Roland Garros champions, No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova handled the all-court game of Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-1.

"She's a tough first round, that's for sure," said Sharapova afterwards to "No matter where she is in the rankings, she has experience, has a Grand Slam, likes those center court matches - she lives in those opportunities."

No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska also had a comfortable time on court as she beat American wildcard Maria Sanchez 6-2, 6-1.

No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli made news on and off the court. She won 6-3, 6-1 over the often tough Chanelle Scheepers and then later announced in press that she would be coached full time by former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna.

Kuznetsova Thaws Out, Beats Jankovic in Three Sets

Earlier in the day, two-time Indian Wells finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova came out figuratively frozen against former winner Jelena Jankovic in their anticipated second round meeting. An error-ridden Kuznetsova found herself unable to win a game in the first set.

But after the Russian took off her tights she wore at the start of the match to help warm her up, the blood started flowing for the two-time Major champion. She cruised through the second set to set up a contentious final set that had Kuznetsova ripping winners against Jankovic's trademark steady defense.

Jankovic saved one match point while serving at 4-5, but she couldn't fight off the next one she faced at 5-6 as Kuznetsova converted with a forehand winner to wrap up the 0-6, 6-2, 7-5 win.

Afterwards, Kuznetsova reflected on being unseeded recently in the big events and says it's actually a good thing for her.

"(Jankovic) is seeded; I'm not seeded. I have no pressure this year at all. Actually, overall I was thinking I don't want to have any pressure in my life, that I feel much better without pressure. I'll try to keep things this way."

Kuznetsova will now face Bartoli in the next round.

Several seeds fell yesterday as American Mallory Burdette beat No. 23 Tamira Paszek 7-6(0), 6-1, while No. 22 seed Varvara Lepchenko lost to Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino 6-1, 6-4. Johanna Larsson upset No. 26 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-1.
(Photo Credit: Chang Photography)


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