INDIAN WELLS, California, March 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova continued her encouraging resurgence from an injury-hampered 2012 campaign with a 6-3 6-1 demolition of Czech Andrea Hlavackova in the BNP Paribas Open first round on Wednesday.
The Russian, whose world ranking has plummeted to 46th from a career-high second, swept past Hlavackova after converting all five of her break point chances at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"I'm happy to be back on the court, this is the main thing," Kuznetsova, 27, told reporters after booking a place in the second round against 18th-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic.
"Every day I just try the best I can and things are coming along pretty well. I feel really balanced within myself, which is important."
Kuznetsova, a losing finalist here in 2007 and 2008 and a winner of 13 WTA singles titles, was sidelined by a right knee injury for six months last year after losing in the first round of Wimbledon.
Having since had surgery, the Russian has made a promising 14-5 (win-loss) start to the 2013 season, reaching the quarter-finals in Sydney and also at the Australian Open.
In other first-round matches on Wednesday, Spaniard Silvia Soler Espinosa battled past American Vania King 6-7 6-2 6-1 while Kazakhstan's Ksenia Pervak brushed aside Zheng Jie of China 6-1 6-2.
Qualifier Mallory Burdette was elated after beating wildcard and fellow American Jill Craybas 6-3 6-1.
"I've made a concerted effort to be aggressive in all of my matches," Burdette said after winning in just under an hour. "I'm happy with the way I've finished strong in each match.
"I didn't have a whole lot of nerves out there today; I was ready to go. I think I've played very well so far."
Australian Open champion and top seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who demolished Russia's Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-3 in last year's BNP Paribas Open final, has a bye into the second round, as do the other seeded players in the WTA tournament.
The men's event at Indian Wells, where four-times champion Roger Federer will defend his title, gets under way on Thursday with the opening round. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Nick Mulvenney/Patrick Johnston)