Vera Zvonareva's comeback gathered further momentum with a quick-fire win over Wang Qiang in the first round of the PTT Thailand Open.
WTA Staff

PATTAYA CITY, Thailand - Vera Zvonareva's comeback gathered further momentum with a quick-fire win over Wang Qiang in the first round of the PTT Thailand Open.

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Four and a half years ago, Zvonareva was lining up alongside Serena Williams on Centre Court for the Wimbledon final, but since then illness and injury have seen her fortunes take a turn for the worse. The early signs have been promising on her latest comeback, and she dominated Wang from start to finish, winning 6-2, 6-2 in little over an hour.

"It always looks easy from the side, but it was not on the court - I think she's a good up-and-coming player and has already made it into the Top 100," Zvonareva said. "But it was a tough match and I'm happy with the way I handled it.

"Playing the early rounds is never easy and you're still getting used to the conditions. I think I did well. I still have a lot of things to improve for my second round, but I'm happy with my performance tonight."

Zvonareva was champion at the Dusit Resort in both 2009 and 2010, and continues her quest to reclaim the title against No.8 seed Zhang Shuai or Donna Vekic. Due to her struggles off the court, the Russian has slipped to No.189 in the rankings and was left relying on a wildcard to make it into the main draw this time.

"It's a great opportunity and I love the tournament - the team here are always helping me and gave me the wildcard this year. My ranking is not that high right now so I really appreciate what they have done for me," she added.

Elsewhere, there were mixed fortunes for Zvonareva's compatriots. Evgeniya Rodina edged out Yulia Putintseva, 7-6(2), 6-4, while Elena Vesnina's recent struggles continued when she slipped to a 6-3, 6-3 defeat against Romina Oprandi. Also advancing on Monday was No.7 seed Monica Puig, after she withstood some late pressure to defeat Stefanie Voegele, 6-2, 7-6(4).

WTA Rising Stars Elina Svitolina, Zarina Diyas and Kurumi Nara are in first round action on Tuesday, as is No.1 seed Peng Shuai, who begins her challenge against Alla Kudryavtseva.