Off To A Flying Start In Doha
DOHA, Qatar - After her finals loss to Ana Ivanovic at Linz nine days ago Vera Zvonareva admitted to feeling a little battle weary following a busy autumn schedule. But the 24-year-old showed no signs of fatigue in the opening round robin match at the Sony Ericsson Championships, breezing past Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets, 62 63.
World No.9 Zvonareva, who only clinched her place at Doha when she won her quarterfinal match at Linz, went into today's match with a 3-7 record against her fellow Russian, who is currently ranked seventh. But the two compatriots last played more than two years ago at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, and Zvonareva today proved she is a stronger, more mature player than she was back then.
Today she was certainly quick out of the blocks, breaking Kuznetsova in the 2004 US Open champion's second service game for a 3-1 lead, and doing it again to clinch the opener.
"It was hard, because we've been playing indoors for two months and it was the first match outdoors," Zvonareva said. "Svetlana is a tough, tough opponent, so I'm very glad about the way I played today."
In the second set, Zvonareva broke for a 2-0 lead, but this time Kuznetsova was able to claw her way level for 2-2. However Zvonareva struck again for 4-2, and although she immediately handed the break back, an increasingly frustrated Kuznetsova was unable to establish momentum. With another break in her pocket Zvonareva didn't falter, serving out the match to love.
"I'm not the kind of player that's going to say I lost because of the wind or the court," said Kuznetsova. "I think I just didn't play well enough, and she played better at some key moments. I'll have another chance to win tomorrow and I take positivity in that."
Zvonareva and Kuznetsova are in the White Group at the season-ending showdown, along with Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, who followed them onto court. The Maroon Group features Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva and Venus Williams.