DUBAI // Vera Zvonareva considers herself a perfectionist and can often be hard on herself. Her breakdowns on court and racket-slamming antics are all due to that trait.
The world No 3, however, had few reasons to be upset yesterday as she breezed past Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-1 in 66 minutes to move into the third round of the US$2.05 million (Dh7.5m) Dubai Duty Free Women's Tennis Championship.
"It's never easy to play Roberta," Zvonareva said. "She's a tricky player. It was a tough match. It always looks a little bit easier from the side; on the court it is never easy.
"I think I managed it really well. It's never easy to start the tournament and to play your first match. You're still trying to get used to conditions. The ball is flying a little bit here, so you have to make some adjustments.
"I think I'm pretty happy the way I managed the match. I had some unforced errors out there, but at the same time I had some great points. So I'm happy overall. Just looking forward to the next one."
Given her commanding performance on the Centre Court, Zvonareva has clearly emerged as one of the early favourites for the winner's cheque of $360,000. She is also looking good to continue her renaissance, which includes two grand slam final appearances last year and the Australian Open semi-final last month.
"It's been a very good year for me," Zvonareva said. "I had no expectations last year. At the end of 2009 I had ankle surgery and it was a bit of a difficult time out there.
"I was just trying to take it one day at a time and trying to enjoy playing. I have put a lot of hard work into it. I spend tons of hours. I trained eight hours a day in trying to get back and I am happy it paid off.
"I am trying to keep up. There are so many good players out there. It's tough competition every day, but I am trying to do my best and we will see where it is going to take me."
The 26-year-old is also trying to rein in the negative impacts of her emotions and turn them into a weapon. "I am an emotional person and it's part of the game," she said. "I am not like Serena Williams - I can't serve aces. I am not like Maria Sharapova - I can't hit a winner on every single ball. I don't have all these things and I am still among the top three players out there.
"I will always be emotional. As long as I use those emotions to my advantage, that's only a plus to me.
"If I need to break the racket to pump myself up, I will break the racket. I don't care."