Kuznetsova wants to lift Auckland record

Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, a regular visitor to Auckland, is out to improve her modest record in the ASB Classic.

Kuznetsova is about to make her fifth appearance in the WTA Tour event, having failed to get past the first round on her last two attempts.

There has also been a second-round exit and her best result came in 2012, when she got to the semi-finals, losing to unseeded eventual champion Zheng Jie of China.

“I’ve been coming many times but I never win many rounds here, so this is my main goal,” Kuznetsova said.

“Definitely the girls are really strong here. Everybody will play great and it’s going to be a great tournament. I’ll just try to do my best.”

The 30-year-old’s relative lack of success at the Classic hasn’t put her off returning.

“I already know what to expect, I really enjoy the atmosphere and the crowd is great,” she said.

In the opening round, No.4 seed Kuznetsova will meet German Mona Barthel, whom she beat in the pair’s one previous meeting on clay in Marbella in 2011.

The Classic begins on Monday and organisers have proclaimed this year’s field as the strongest in the event’s history.

Kuznetsova is one three players competing who have experienced Grand Slam success, along with American Venus Williams, who has seven majors to her name, and Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic.

There are also three former world No.1s in top seed Williams (now No.7), Ivanovic (No.16) and Dane Caroline Wozniacki (No.17).

Kuznetsova just misses out on joining the trio – her highest ranking is No.2.

As well, there are two returning Classic winners in defending champion Williams and Ivanovic, who claimed the title in her only previous appearance in the tournament in 2014.

The player depth has mean that another Grand Slam winner, Italian Francesca Schiavone, needed a wildcard to make the main draw.

Meanwhile, American Lauren Davis and Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, semi-finalists in 2015 and 2014 respectively, are having to go through qualifying.

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