Kuz & Masha lose in the first round in Madrid.!

Svetlana Kuznetsova’s preparations for her French Open title defense took another hit on Day 1 of the Mutua Madrid Madrileña Open as she lost to Shahar Peer in the opening round, her third straight loss on clay.

Lucie Safarova defeated Maria Sharapova  6-4 6-3 in the first match for the Russian since she develpoed a bone bruise in her right forearm.

Kuznetsova, who lost in the second round of Stuttgart to Li Na and in the first round of Rome to Maria Kirilenko, was the No.5 seed in Madrid but lost to the unseeded Peer, 63 26 60. After rebounding in the second set Kuznetsova seemed back on the winning path, but that quickly changed as Peer ground out the third at love, her third win in the pair’s seven career meetings.

“Sveta is a great player, especially on clay. But anyone you play here is going to be tough,” Peer said. “I’ve been playing well since the beginning of the year. Even the matches I’m losing, it’s just a point here and a point there. I’ve been working very hard on my game the last two years and I saw the fruits starting to come last summer. I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

The only other seeds in action both won, as No.6 seed Elena Dementieva rolled past Aleksandra Wozniak, 60 61, and No.12 seed Marion Bartoli rallied to a three set victory against Polona Hercog, 36 64 64.

“I’m very satisfied the way I was playing today. It was hard playing a match on the center court without practicing on it beforehand,” Dementieva said. “We are all looking forward to getting some good matches in to prepare for the French Open. This is only my second tournament on clay this year, but this is the best preparation you can have, at a big tournament like this.”

Vera Zvonareva, Alona Bondarenko, Andrea Petkovic and Sybille Bammer also won first round matches at the $4.5-million tournament.

Iveta Benesova, Petra Kvitova, Stefanie Voegele, Kirsten Flipkens, Alizé Cornet, Klara Zakopalova, Akgul Amanmuradova and Beatriz García Vidagany earned berths in the main draw with wins in qualifying.

The first round continues Sunday with the likes of Venus Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin in action.

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