Paris: Svetlana Kuznetsova has endured a miserable start to the European claycourt season but somehow the Russian knew that come the defence of her French Open title everything would fall nicely into place.
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 on 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 centre 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.