Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points, fought through a 90-minute rain delay and survived another day as reigning French Open women’s singles champion defeating Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a dramatic second-round match Wednesday.
After taking the first set, the 41st-ranked Petkovic led 4-2 in the second and served for the match at 5-4. The German went ahead 40-love, but sent a backhand into the net, a forehand long, and a backhand wide to waste three match points. On her fourth, she put another backhand into the net.
Eventually, Kuznetsova, seeded No. 6, hit a backhand passing shot to break serve, part of a five-game run for the Russian.
Up 5-2 in the third, Kuznetsova had trouble closing it out. But she converted her fourth match point.
A businesslike Venus Williams advanced to the third round of the French Open Wednesday, clearly unfazed by the controversy surrounding her risqué lace tennis dress. Despite damp, cool conditions at Roland Garros, she had little trouble taking out Spaniard Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-3, 6-4.
“I played a really scrappy player today,” Venus explained to Tennis Channel’s Katrina Adams. “I didn’t get a perfect rhythm, but I think I played the bigger points well, especially on my serve.”
It’s been three years since the elder Williams has advanced beyond the third round in Paris, but Venus has a chance to take over the No. 1 singles ranking from her sister if she takes the title with Serena losing before the fourth round.
Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai continued her hot streak, taking out Angelique Kerber 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Rezai, 23, wowed the partisan crowd with her powerful strokes and will take on another hard hitter, Nadia Petrova, in the third round.
No. 14 seed, Flavia Pennetta, advanced easily beating fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1.
Blair Henley contributed to this report