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By Rob Peterson
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The fifth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova and a two-time runner-up at the Foro Italico, continued to suffer early exists in the tournaments since reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open in January. She lost to Maria Kirilenko with a 6-2 3-6 6-4 in the second round of the Italian Open on Monday.
Kuznetsova lamented, "I haven't had many matches this year and so I found it hard. I still have to find myself out there." She further added, "I felt so bad in the first set and then I started to get a little better in the second and third set. If I had played the first set like the second and third, then probably it would have been a very different picture."
Kuznetsova won the second Grand Slam title of her career when she clinched the French Open title last year.
In first-round action, No. 11 Yanina Wickmayer beat Karolina Sprem of Croatia 6-3 1-6 6-4; No. 12 Flavia Pennetta of Italy defeated Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-2 6-3; No. 13 Francesca Schiavone of Italy rallied to eliminate Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova 3-6 6-2 6-2; and No. 16 Shahar Peer of Israel thrashed Italian wild card Corinna Dentoni 6-2 6-1. In another match, former French Open winner, Ana Ivanovic, rolled to a 6-1 6-3 win over Elena Vesnina. Ivanovic will next face ninth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who beat her in the fourth round of last year's French Open.
Earlier in the day, Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat United States Fed Cup teammate Melanie Oudin 6-1 6-3.
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