Tennis - Brisbane International - Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, Australia - 5/1/17 Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova reaches to hit a shot during her match against Spain's Garbine Muguruza. REUTERS/Steve Holland
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Svetlana Kuznetsova opened the defence of her Sydney International title with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu Sunday as the Australian Open warm-up event suffered a pair of big-name withdrawals.The Russian fifth seed started strongly by winning 10 of the first 11 games and after her Romanian opponent rallied in the second set to tie it up at 4-4, Kuznetsova broke again in the ninth game and served out the victory in 77 minutes.However, fourth seed Karolina Pliskova, who will climb to world number five following her Brisbane title win Saturday, will not be able to aim for back-to-back victories after she pulled out of the event with a left inner thigh injury.
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