Baku: Top-seeded Vera Zvonareva breezed through the opening round of the inaugural Baku Cup on Tuesday, while second-seeded fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had to battle through heat exhaustion and 25 double faults before advancing.
Zvonareva was only briefly tested, saving a set point to recover from 3-5 in the second set before beating Nigina Abduraimova of Ukraine 6-1, 7-5. Zvonareva imposed herself from the start by breaking serve in the opening game, and Abduraimova was no match for her vastly more experienced opponent.
Pavlyuchenkova, in contrast, had to work much harder for her 7-5, 6-4 win over Valeria Solovieva, needing almost 2 1/2 hours to overcome the 274th-ranked Russian. Pavlyuchenkova hit 16 double faults in the first set alone and required treatment for heat exhaustion after breaking to lead 3-1 in the final set.