Zvonareva, ranked No.3 in the world, and Dinara, a former No.1, had met 11 times before, with Dinara leading that series, 6-5 – however, Zvonareva had won four of their last five. And after Safina went up a set perhaps that recent momentum kicked into gear, as Zvonareva came back for a 36 63 62 victory.
“It’s never easy to play Dinara. She started really well and I felt I had a lot of errors, but I handled the situation well and came up with good tennis when I needed it,” Zvonareva said. “Dinara is trying to win as many matches as she can right now. She’s a great player and I’m happy whenever she wins. We have known each other for so many years. I’ve had tough times too so I know how she feels, but you just take it one day at a time, one match at a time.”
Dinara Defeats Dokic In Miami
Dinara, a quarterfinalist in Miami in 2008, and Dokic, a quarterfinalist in 2001 and 2003, showed off powerful, pinpoint groundstrokes throughout the one-hour, 28-minute battle, but it was Dinara who came out better at the tail end of each set, breaking serve at 4-all in both before comfortably serving them out. She ended each set off with an ace – she had five in total during the match.
“I was really pleased with my serve and showed I can serve not only double faults but also some aces,” Dinara said. “I’m really happy with the win today, especially because I missed this tournament last year. It was a good match too – she has been playing some really great tennis and has been on fire.”
In Indian Wells, Dinara made it to the fourth round – her first time winning three matches at a tournament since the Aussie Open 14 months earlier. “Slowly I’m starting to get some matches behind me. I’m still far from my best but we are working day by day and each win helps me get closer to where I want to be.”
Next up for Dinara is No.3 seed Vera Zvonareva, who had a first round bye, as did all 32 seeds here. Although Zvonareva has won four of their last five meetings, Dinara leads Zvonareva in their overall head-to-head series, 6-5.
“It will be tough but I have nothing to lose,” Dinara said. “I’ll just go out there and enjoy it. Hopefully it will be a strong performance and I can pull off a win.”