x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Zvonareva giving rivals sleepless nights

The Russian shakes off fatigue and jet lag after a Thailand title win to hit the courts and come out an easy winner for the sixth time in as many match days.

DUBAI // Vera Zvonareva has forged a reputation as a tennis superwoman over the last week. The Russian, triumphant in Thailand on Sunday, jetted straight to the UAE after collecting that ninth title of her career. She arrived at her hotel at seven o'clock on Monday morning and, after the shortest of naps, took to the courts to open her challenge for the Dubai Championships a few hours later. Pushed to the limit of her endurance by compatriot Elena Vesnina in a punishing three-set battle, she was determined last night to make her sixth match in as many days a more comfortable affair. It turned out to be even more of a stroll than he had hoped for. The world No 14 was detained for only 45 minutes as she inflicted the dreaded "double bagel" scoreline of 6-0, 6-0 on the hapless Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens.

"You never expect matches like this," she said after cruising into a third round meeting with Jelena Jankovic as she pursues back-to-back titles which will mean winning 10 days in a row. "I was getting ready for a tough match and actually it was tough. But I was just very consistent today, and I didn't really give her chances to get in the match. I'm very pleased with that." Zvonareva's Russian compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova had an even easier time yesterday. The French Open champion finds herself in the third round without hitting a ball, having followed up her first round bye with a walkover following the withdrawal of her Spanish opponent Anabel Medina Garrigues with an ankle injury. The fourth seeded Victoria Azarenka is also through to the last 16 with minimal effort. The Belarussian advanced when her second round opponent Kateryna Bondarenko retired injured after losing four of the first five games.