TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Former World No.2 Vera Zvonareva made good on a qualifying wildcard to oust No.4 seed Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round of the Tashkent Open.
It’s a full-circle moment for Zvonareva; after suffering two years of injuries and false starts, Zvonareva made her return to action earlier this year at an ITF event in Fergana, Uzbekistan.
Zvonareva fought through three rounds of qualifying in Tashkent to reach the main draw, where she came back from a set down to stun the No.4 seed Begu 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“I’ve been away from the circuit for the last two years and it's always tough to get back on a larger stage,” Zvonareva told Tashkent Open’s Sunder Iyer.
“I would like to thank the Tashkent Open for giving me a wildcard to play the qualifiers - it's a great opportunity for me to play some really talented players and hopefully I'll be able to get my rhythm too."
Up next, the two-time Grand Slam finalist will take on Pauline Parmentier after the Frenchwoman eased past Risa Ozaki 6-2, 6-4.
Also through to Round 2, 18-year-old Marketa Vondrousova zoomed past Misa Eguchi 6-1, 6-1 in just 45 minutes.
“I already feel comfortable with courts and playing well,” Vondrousova said. “I’m happy to have made a good start.”
It wasn’t a good day for the hometown hopefuls looking to make a deep run at the 19th edition of the Tashkent Open, staged at Tashkent’s Olympic Tennis School. A pair of local wildcards, Akgul Amanmuradova and Sabina Sharipova, both fell in straight sets in their opening matches; Kateryna Kozlova dropped just one game against Amanmuradova 6-1, 6-0, while Stefanie Voegele dismissed Sharipova 6-1, 6-3.
Also in action, No.8 seed Ekaterina Makarova fought past a determined Lizette Cabrera to see off the Aussie qualifier 7-6(2), 6-2. Kateryna Bondarenko moved past Anna Blinkova 6-3, 6-2, and Denisa Allertova rounds out the day’s results with a win over qualifier Jana Fett, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.