Vera Zvonareva meets Monica Niculescu this afternoon in the second round of the 2012 WTA Doha Open.
Former world No. 2 Zvonareva is seeded sixth this week and will be hoping to make a serious challenge for the title.
The competition couldn’t be much tougher though, and the Russian may have to compete with the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova, and Samantha Stosur, and that’s just in her quarter of the draw.
She’ll begin with a second round matchup against Monica Niculescu, who isn't considered to be one of the biggest names in this tournament, but is certainly a capable opponent.
The Romanian is ranked just outside of the top thirty, and she made an ideal start to the week by soundly thrashing Elena Vesnina 6-1 6-0.
Vesnina is no pushover, and Niculescu should be feeling very confident following a result like this.
Zvonareva and Niculescu have only met once in a competitive setting, with Zvonareva clinching a three set victory on the hard courts of Bangalore in 2008. Back then, Niculescu was ranked outside of the top hundred, and we can perhaps expect more from her on Wednesday. Despite this, Zvonareva still seems the likely victor.
Prediction: Zvonareva in two.