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post #78 of (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Tennis chief expects Kuznetsova to challenge in Australia

13:08|16/ 01/ 2006

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti, Sergei Kuznetsov) - Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova is the best placed of the Russian women to stage a challenge at this year's Australian Open, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation said Monday.

"Svetlana Kuznetsova looks the best of all Russian women players," Shamil Tarpishchev said, as Kuznetsova comfortably defeated Australian Lauren Breadmore on the first day of the tournament Monday at Melbourne Park.

A possible meeting in the fourth round with American world number one Lindsay Davenport could be the key to the tournament for Kuznetsova, ranked 11 in the world but seeded 14.

Kuznetsova had a good chance of victory in that match, Tarpishchev said. "Davenport does not like playing against players like Kuznetsova," he said. "Svetlana is an awkward opponent for her."

Kuznetsova won the US Open title in 2004, but has otherwise yet to go beyond the quarter final of a grand slam singles event.

A total of 11 Russian woman began the tournament, but the country lost Elena Dementieva, seeded 9, on the opening day in a surprise straight-sets defeat to Germany's Julia Schruff. Top Russian seed Maria Sharapova, seeded 4, had little trouble moving into the second round with a straightforward victory over Germany's Sandra Kloesel.

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