By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
Vera Zvonareva secured her passage into the second round of the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy following a straight sets victory over qualifier Arena Rodionova.
Zvonareva 36, who won the Doubles title in 2018, had previously never lost to her Australian opponent. She never looked likely to lose here either, despite falling behind 3-0 in the second set.
The Russian, who received a wildcard entry into the event, broke Rodionova three times in the opening set before going on to claim it 6-1.
Rodionova bounced back to go 3-0 up in the second, but Zvonereva then won six straight games to win the match comfortably 6-1, 6-3 in just less than an hour and a half.
She’s now set up a second round clash with Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, a player she hasn’t faced up to now.
So how does she feel going into that match:
“Fiona is a great player. She has improved greatly over the past two years. I watched her matches a little bit, but not much. I’ll still watch a bit more, but I think we’ll have some really long rallies.
“She places the ball really well, she plays with some spin, so I’ll have to make sure that I’m moving well. I’ll have to find the right balance between being patient and aggressive. It’s going to be a tough challenge but a very interesting one for me,” said Zvonareva.
Elsewhere on the opening day Belarussian Aliaksandra Sasnovich despatched Romanian Ana Bogdan 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 while 2018 French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko, seeded sixth this week, took less than an hour to beat Spaniard Paula Badosa Gibert 6-2, 6-2.