MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - After surrendering her opening service game with a double-fault, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova won 12 consecutive games in a 6-2, 6-0 win Tuesday over Russia’s Vera Dushevina to move into the second round of the Australian Open.
Wearing the purple color synonymous with Wimbledon, the No. 2-ranked Kvitova underlined her growing stature on the women’s tour by not giving Dushevina a second chance. The 21-year-old Czech broke her Russian rival’s serve three times in each set and finished off Tuesday’s opening match on Rod Laver Arena in an hour.
Kvitova reached the quarterfinals here last year at the start of a season in which she surged up the rankings. Last week, she missed a chance to overhaul Caroline Wozniacki’s No. 1 ranking when she lost in the Sydney International semifinals. She needed to win the Sydney tournament to take the top ranking.
But she gets another chance at Melbourne Park, where she’s one of six women who can finish No. 1.
“I have great memories of this court from last year, when I came out, everything came back in my head,” she said in a post-match TV interview. “It was nice.”
It gave her the confidence to win her first major later in the year.
The Wimbledon title “was a surprise for me,” she said. “Nobody expected it, or knew I could be No. 2.”
Other women advancing included No. 27 Maria Kirilenko, who beat Australian hope Jarmila Gajdosova 6-4, 6-2, Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak and Shahar Peer of Israel.
Men’s No. 5 seed David Ferrer advanced in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, over Rui Machado of Portugal. Germany’s Philipp Petzschner routed Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-0, 6-2 to advance.
Serena Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam winner, will play a night match on Tuesday against Tamira Paszek. She didn’t get to defend her title last year because of injury and comes into the season’s first major with concern over her left ankle, which she twisted at a tuneup tournament in Brisbane earlier this month.
U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur will be trying to end a rough stretch in which the Aussie has only one win in two tournaments on home soil this month.
Rafael Nadal, who lost his No. 1 ranking and six finals to Djokovic last year, wondered if he’d even be able to play his first-round match at the Australian Open on Monday after his right knee cracked and cramped and caused him “unbelievable pain” on the eve of the tournament.
He already had plenty on his mind going into the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. There was his ailing shoulder and his spat with Roger Federer over player conditions on the tour, a rare clash between these respectful rivals that has since been smoothed over.
After hours of medical tests and treatment, Nadal decided to play but was “scared” when he took the court against American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov. Judging by the scoreline, the outcome looked very matter of fact: Nadal won 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.