Kuznetsova produces escape act

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MIAMI, March 26 – Svetlana Kuznetsova had to give herself a stern talking-to as she made an opening-round escape at the Miami WTA event Thursday, defeating China's Peng Shuai 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.Double grand slam winner Kuznetsova admitted she badly needed a chat — in her native Russian — as Peng pulled out the second set after dropping the first.

It eventually took a solid effort from the top seed to move through to the third round.

"When you get frustrated you get very mad and sometimes you don’t have to let yourself get mad. I think I gave her chance to play well," said the 2006 Miami winner.

Kuznetsova’s harsh advice to herself appeared to work in the end.

"The first set was very easy, and I just get frustrated a little bit. I stopped moving my feet in the second set and just lost one game and everything’s went wrong.

"In tennis, you don’t need much."

Peng has just returned from a bout of appendicitis, which forced her out of Pattaya City and Dubai last month. The Chinese has lost her last 12 matches against top-five players.

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic won for the first time since January, defeating France’s Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-3.

The Serbian, who stood number one after lifting the 2008 Roland Garros trophy, has suffered as her game hit the skids following that career high point.

The current world number 58 has gone through numerous coaching permutations in search of the form that took her to the summit.

"I thought I played really well. It was good to have a win," she said.

"I’ve improved a lot over last month. Obviously working with a new coach, with Heinz (Gunthardt), I can see the improvements almost on daily basis. It’s very encouraging.

"I felt like I’ve been playing really well for a while now, so it was disappointing to lose so early at Indian Wells. But I just keep working hard and try to do my best out there."

Sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat Ekaterina Makarova, but Swiss Timea Bacsinszky stunned Australian Open semi-finalist Li Na of China, seeded eighth, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).

In the men’s ATP Masters draw, Roger Federer turned the disappointment of a third-round exit last week at Indian Wells into a benefit, saying the unexpected time off was just what he needed before Miami.

World number one Federer won event in 2005 and 2006 but smashed a racket in a rare flare of temper here a year ago as he lost a semi-final to Novak Djokovic.

His defeat last week in the Indian Wells third round at the hands of Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis was also a shock to the system, but the Swiss star said he was able to decompress as he made the move from California to Florida.

"I’ve had many years where I run from one thing to the next that also I welcome having all of a sudden more days off, more days of practise, more days where I can just wake up and see what I really want to do instead of having the perfect plan the whole time," Federer said.

"It’s nice to adjust that for a change, if there’s anything positive to take out of a loss."

ATP first-round play began as non-seeds took to the court.

Australian Peter Luczak earned an opening victory over Spain’s Oscar Hernandez 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Other men’s winners at the nine million-dollar hardcourt event included South African Kevin Anderson, Horacio Zeballos of Argentina and Israeli Dudi Sela.

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