Wimbledon: Svetlana Kuznetsova strolls through the opening round

Svetlana Kuznetsova made a great start to her Wimbledon campaign as she prevailed in straight sets against a dangerous qualifier in Ons Jabeur, setting up a blockbuster meeting with Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

Kuznetsova steals the first set at the last moments

Both players made a shaky start to the match as neither was able to play their best tennis, with Jabeur getting to deuce in Kuznetsova’s service game but was unable to find a break point as she started to misfire, allowing the Russian to narrowly hold her serve and get the positive start. Jabeur then followed suit as she held her first service game to 30, hitting an ace on such a crucial point at 30-30. The higher-ranked player improved as the match progressed after playing some great tennis to hold serve yet again, remaining on serve on the scoreboard.

Nevertheless, it was a very tight start as neither of them was able to make the breakthrough in their return games, and it looked like a serve-dominated contest. However, Kuznetsova was there to prove us wrong as she earned a break point in the sixth game but failed to convert as Jabeur narrowly escaped from the brink. Nevertheless, it did not affect the Russian as she converted her next break point in her next return game, taking advantage of some errors by the Tunisian as she made the first breakthrough of the match. Kuznetsova then easily consolidated the break and successfully served out the first set as a result, sealing it with a perfect forehand smash after 31 minutes of play.

Kuznetsova strolls to win the first set

Jabeur made an encouraging start to the second set as she managed to fend off the tough challenge from Kuznetsova, holding her serve to 30 in the opening game after coming from 15-30 down to do so. Nevertheless, the Russian was the one who made the breakthrough once again, playing some inspired tennis to lead by a set and a break. Kuznetsova then easily consolidated the break of serve for a two-game advantage, looking on course to complete the win in straight sets. Unforced errors from Jabeur proved costly as Kuznetsova continued to stroll through the second set to be just one game away from victory. Despite allowing the Tunisian to get a consolation game at the last moments, Kuznetsova was able to serve out the win after managing to save break points as she triumphed in straight sets after a little over an hour, sealing the win with a forehand smash winner once more.

Ons Jabeur would be fairly disappointed with her performance today | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe
Ons Jabeur would be fairly disappointed with her performance today | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe

Stats Corner: Kuznetsova was the more solid of the two

It was a perfect performance from Kuznetsova as she ended the match with a positive difference of three in her winner-unforced error count, hitting 12 winners to just nine unforced errors. It is much better as compared to Jabeur’s inconsistent play as she blasted 14 winners past the Russian, which came along with a heavy price of 25 unforced error. Kuznetsova broke serve for a total of three times and fended off the two break points she faced in the last game to prevail in straight sets. Kuznetsova won an incredible 76 percent of first serve points and also winning 61 percent of points off her second serve, looking in great form.