NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - Former World No.2 Vera Zvonareva made a winning return to WTA tournament play in the qualifying of the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies on Saturday, coming from a set down to defeat Anastasia Rodionova in the first round, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
The 32-year-old Russian, a wildcard in the qualifying draw, had to wait a day for her first WTA match since the Katowice Open in 2015 due to rainy conditions across the East Coast on Saturday.
The two-time Grand Slam finalist lost 12 of the first 13 points of the match, but worked her way into the contest for the 95-minute victory. Zvonareva didn't lose serve in either the second or third sets, scoring her fourth win in five meetings against Rodionova.
The Russian gave birth to daughter Evelyn last year, and has played five ITF tournaments in 2017, winning a $15,000 event in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in early July.
“I made the decision at the last moment, because I was getting in shape and practicing, and I felt like I needed to play some matches,” Zvonareva told WTA Insider on Thursday ahead of the tournament. “It’s one thing to practice, but another to be playing matches. I got this opportunity to come here, getting the wildcard to New Haven. It’s great to be back, practicing on main courts and getting ready for a tournament.
“We’ll see how it goes, because I don’t have too many other plans beyond US Open qualifying. From there, I’ll head back home to see my little one, and we’ll see what happens after.”
In her time away, Zvonareva also earned an M.S. in Global Studies & Political Science through an agreement between Northeastern University and the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association.
Zvonareva will face the top seed in qualifying, Wimbledon semifinalist and World No.33 Magdalena Rybarikova, later today.