By Julien Pretot
The sixth seed recovered from a terrible start, losing the first three games, to kick off her Paris campaign with a 6-3 6-1 win over Romanian Sorana Cirstea Sunday.
"It was surprising for me, because I felt I had been preparing and giving my best in practice, and I was not having as good results as I would have liked," Kuznetsova told reporters.
"But I knew this moment had to pass because I deserve better than that, and I worked harder than these results. I was just concerned about when it was going to pass."
Last season Kuznetsova, 24, compiled an imperious 17-3 claycourt record on the European swing before bursting through the pack to claim her second Grand Slam crown in Paris.
This time round her record was a paltry 1-3, losing her last three matches before arriving in Paris, and a fourth consecutive defeat on the slowest surface loomed when she dropped the first three games.
But she got her act together to see off the world number 34 on a sunsoaked center court where close friend Amelie Mauresmo was watching from the stands.
She clinched nine games in a row after the shaky opening, wrapping it up on her second match point with a backhand passing shot.
Kuznetsova will face German Andrea Petkovic in the second round.
(Editing by Miles Evans)