The No.4-seeded Ivanovic, who was playing for the first time this week after getting a first round bye, came out like a house on fire - she won the first five games of the match, losing just six points in those five games. Zakopalova put up some major resistance in the next 20 minutes - she won three of the next five games - but Ivanovic went on another five game run from 63 11 to close it out, 63 61.
Last week in Linz, Ivanovic reached her first WTA final in almost two years - she ended up finishing runner-up to Angelique Kerber, but she still comes into Moscow on a high and hopes to keep it going.
"I feel good - I feel confident about my game coming from last week, and hopefully I can perform well this week," she said. "I'm really happy to be here and it's a great honor to be a part of this event."
While this is the end of the regular WTA season, there are still some season-ending events going on the next two weeks - the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul next week and the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia the week after. Ivanovic has a wildcard into Sofia.
"For me the best way would be to play Istanbul, but it's still a great way to finish the season going to Sofia," Ivanovic said. "I'm really looking forward to being a part of it because I played that tournament in Bali twice and won it twice, so it's very special memories for me, and I've heard a lot of wonderful things about Sofia from the players from last year, so I'm really, really excited about going there."
But there's obviously some unfinished business this week - next up for Ivanovic in the quarterfinals is No.7 seed Sam Stosur, who won nine of 10 games from 3-4 in the first set to beat Alizé Cornet, 64 61.
Stosur leads Ivanovic in their head-to-head series, 3-2, including 3-0 on hard - and including a win on these very courts a year ago (Stosur beat Ivanovic in the semifinals here last year - read more here).
The third match of the day was a two-hour, 41-minute grinder, with Daniela Hantuchova prevailing over Serbian qualifier Vesna Dolonc, 36 64 64. Hantuchova was in all kinds of trouble - not just losing the first set, but also falling behind 3-0 and 4-2 in the third - but the Slovak just kept coming back.