Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova overcame a slow start to beat Sorana Cirstea in the opening centre-court match at the French Open.

Kuznetsova lost the first six points and the first three games, then won nine games in a row and beat Cirstea 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday. Three times Kuznetsova won games after losing the first three points.

Seeded sixth, the Russian arrived at Roland Garros with only a 1-3 record on clay this year, and she drew a dangerous opening opponent in Cirstea, a quarterfinalist a year ago.

Kuznetsova needed 12 minutes to win a game, then found her form. Cirstea squandered chances to get back into the match in the second set, when she failed to convert all four break points.

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