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Venus, Kuznetsova advance at French Open

PARIS, May 23 (UPI) -- Venus Williams and defending champ Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the second round of the French Open Sunday after taking their opening round matches.

Williams, seeded second, had little trouble with Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, dispatching her in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 on the clay courts of Roland Garros. Williams improved her record against Schnyder to 11-0.

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Meanwhile, No. 6 seed Kuznetsova began her defense of her title by overcoming a slow start and notching a 6-3, 6-1 triumph over Romanian Sorana Cirstea. Kuznetsova stormed back after losing the first three games to take nine straight.

Also in Paris Sunday, 10th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus fell victim to an upset, losing 6-1, 6-2 to Gisela Dulko. The result was especially surprising since Dulko had dropped four straight opening matches coming into the French Open.

No. 14 seed Italian Flavia Pennetta downed Briton Anne Keothavong 6 2, 6-2, and 15th-seeded Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai breezed past Heidi El Tabakh of Canada 6-1, 6-1.

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