Tennis: Kuznetsova reaches Indian Wells quarter-finals

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova is in the last eight in the California desert for the first time since reaching back-to-back finals in 2007 and 2008.
Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova is in the last eight in the California desert for the first time since reaching back-to-back finals in 2007 and 2008.PHOTO: AFP

INDIAN WELLS (AFP) - Eighth-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova sped past Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday (March 14) to lead the way into the women's quarter-finals at Indian Wells.

Kuznetsova is in the last eight in the California desert for the first time since reaching back-to-back finals in 2007 and 2008.

The 31-year-old Russian, owner of two Grand Slam singles titles, enjoyed a resurgence in 2016, winning two titles and upsetting world number one Serena Williams in Miami as she returned to the top 10 in the world for the first time since 2010.

"I just fell in love with the game again," said Kuznetsova, who next faces either fifth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia or fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Cibulkova rallied from a set and a break down to get past Kristyna Pliskova in the third round on Sunday.

Second-seeded Angelique Kerber, who will return to number one in the world next week thanks to Serena Williams's injury withdrawal, will also vie for a quarter-final berth on Tuesday, along with seven-time Gran dslam champion Venus Williams, third-seeded Karolina Pliskova and 2011 Indian Wells winner Caroline Wozniacki.

Williams, seeded 12th, takes on Chinese qualifier Peng Shuai while Kerber faces Russian Elena Vesnina, Pliskova faces Timea Bacsinszky and Wozniacki caps the evening action on Stadium Court against ninth-seeded American Madison Keys.

Reigning French Open champion Garbine Muguruza takes on Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, winner of titles in Taiwan and Dubai already this year.