PARIS (AP) — Taking the court for a morning match to start the French Open, defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova needed extra time to warm up.
Kuznetsova lost the first six points and the first three games, then swept nine games in a row and beat Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-1 Sunday.
Seeded sixth, Kuznetsova arrived at Roland Garros with only a 1-3 record on clay this year, and she drew a dangerous opening opponent in Cirstea, a quarterfinalist a year ago.
The match began in a nearly empty stadium shortly after 11 a.m., and Kuznetsova wasn’t ready. It took her 12 minutes to win a game, but she was in control after that, three times rallying to win a game after losing the first three points. Cirstea squandered chances to get back into the match in the second set, when she failed to convert all four break points.
A year ago, Kuznetsova beat Serena Williams en route to her second Grand Slam championship. But she has not won any titles this year and her record is 9-9, the worst of any top-10 woman.
Joining Kuznetsova in the second round was 26th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, who took only 46 minutes to beat Ekaterina Ivanova 6-2, 6-0.
The tournament began in warm, sunny conditions. Among those with matches scheduled later Sunday were Robin Soderling, who upset Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros a year ago, and Venus Williams.