INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova found herself in a tight spot in more ways than one at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday but managed to escape with a come-from-behind victory after a timely wardrobe change.
Overwhelmed in the opening set on a chilly day at Indian Wells, Kuznetsova immediately felt more comfortable when she discarded her leggings and went on to upset 18th-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic 0-6 6-2 7-5 in the second round.
“For me it’s very difficult to play in cold weather because even when I tried to play in the long tight pants in the first set, I cannot,” Kuznetsova, a losing finalist here in 2007 and 2008, told reporters.
“I think I can do it every time I go and try, and I know I cannot. I can practice in them without problem, but when I have matches I always start to lose. I have to take them off and then all the things changes.
“I don’t think I started to win because of my pants, but still, I was not moving. I just had to change things.”
Kuznetsova, a winner of 13 WTA singles titles, said she immediately felt much more at ease on the second Stadium Court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden after removing her leggings.
“They are very tight, so they were kind of pushing my stomach and I was not so much comfortable,” she added. “It was not bothering me like so much, but after I took it off I was feeling a little bit looser.
“So it’s a little bit funny. Yeah, it’s just the pants, but I don’t blame them. I mean, it’s all because of me.”
Kuznetsova, who spent six months on the sidelines last year due to a right knee injury after losing in the first round of Wimbledon, has enjoyed her relatively low-profile status this week at Indian Wells.
“I had no pressure,” smiled the Russian, whose world ranking has dropped to 46th from a career-high second. “She (Jankovic) is seeded; I’m not seeded. I have no pressure this year at all.
“Overall, I was thinking that I don’t want to have any pressure in my life, that I feel much better without pressure. I will try to keep things this way, but I always think when I come on the court it’s going to depend on me and on my game.
“I was pretty bad in the first set, but I managed to change it. So I’m pretty happy with it, but I have to change the start.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Patrick Johnston