AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Peng Shuai of China rallied to oust two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the ASB Classic tournament Wednesday.
Peng, ranked No. 71, dropped the first set in 30 minutes before fighting back to win the second and recovering from an 0-3 deficit in the third to take the match.
Peng had played third-seeded Kuznetsova, a former U.S. Open and French Open champion, on three previous occasions and lost each time.
Kuznetsova made a bold start to the deciding set, breaking Peng in the opening game, serving an ace to start her first service game. But her errors intensified and she dropped serve at 3-1 and again as Peng tied the set at 5-5.
Peng held serve, then broke again to take the match on her second match point.
"I was really nervous," Peng said. "When the match started, in the first set, I was just not in the match. I just tried to fight every point.
"At first I just thought 'don't lose too fast'."
Meanwhile, former top-ranked Maria Sharapova struggled on serve in windy conditions before beating Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5.
The three-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova dropped serve early in the first set and came back from 3-1 down with service breaks in the fifth, seventh and ninth games to take the set.
The second set began with a series of seven straight service breaks as both players struggled in the wind. Voracova finally held to lead 5-3, but Sharapova showed tenacity to tie it at 5-5 and take the match in her opponent's next service game.
"With the wind my ball toss was all over the place. That's something I'll have to work on in my next game," Sharapova said.
"I played a really tough opponent today. She was very different from my first opponent, very flat and deep and it was difficult to find my rhythm."