Zvonareva Continues to Roll in Tokyo

Sunday, October 3, 2010
It wasn’t always pretty, but second seed Vera Zvonareva beat Sara Errani of Italy for a place in the third round at the Pan Pacific Open women’s tennis tournament on Tuesday.

The Russian, who has been on a hot streak and reached a career-high fourth in the world after finishing runner-up at the US Open, struggled to hold her serve and needed to repeat deuces seven times before serving out for a 6-3, 6-3 win.

Seventh seed Elena Dementieva of Russia was an easy 6-0, 6-1 winner over Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, while eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus breezed past Czech Lucie Safarova 6-1, 6-3.

“I knew Sara is a very tough opponent, so I had to concentrate. It’s the first match after a couple of weeks off, so of course it was difficult to play your best tennis,” Zvonareva said.

“I was playing indoors for the first time since last year’s Kremlin Cup. It was a year ago, so it was quite different conditions.

“I was just trying my best. I had ups and downs, but I’m still happy with the way I handled the situation and won this match,” she added.

Azarenka, who had a first-round bye with Zvonareva and Dementieva, was too strong for Safarova, dropping only four games in a 6-1, 6-3 victory.

It marked a strong recovery for Azarenka, who just four weeks earlier had keeled over in the searing heat during the US Open at Flushing Meadows before being revived and pushed off court in a wheelchair.

“Sometimes things happen unfortunately in this way,” she said. “I cannot look back. I try to forget about it as much as I can, but people still remind me. For me, it’s important to move forward.”

Azarenka, ranked 11th in the world, showed no ill-effects against her 30th-ranked opponent, achieving a service break in the opening game in the 77-minute match.

“I think it was a very good start for me. I hadn’t played for three weeks, so I was a little bit nervous to get into the match and see what I could do,” said the 21-year-old. “I did pretty well and I’m happy with my game and with the way I moved.”

In the third round, Azarenka will take on 11th seed Marion Bartoli of France, who beat Serbian Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-1.


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