Russian second seed Vera Zvonareva booked a third-round berth at the US Open on Wednesday, emerging from a tricky encounter with Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
"It was a good test for me," Zvonareva said. "I wouldn't say I'm pleased with the quality of tennis I showed, but I'm pleased the way I handled the match."
Ranked number two in the world, Zvonareva reached the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open last year. Since losing to Kim Clijsters in last year's US Open final, she has reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January, but exited before the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
But the US Open women's field is wide open, with Clijsters sidelined by injury and world number one Caroline Wozniacki yet to prove she has what it takes to win a Grand Slam.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova top the list of favorites -- Williams still on the rise after a lengthy injury absence and Sharapova trying to build on her run to the Wimbledon final.
With both French Open champion Li Na and Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova eliminated in the first round, Zvonareva is eyeing a major breakthrough of her own.
First however, she must settle in and get herself into the later rounds, something she hasn't always found it easy to do.
"You know, I'm an all-around-the-court player and I can do a lot of things, but it takes time for me to get adjusted to new surface, new conditions," she said. "It has always been like this. I can play very well on any surface, but I just need some time.
"I think that's why it takes for me couple of two, three matches to really get to that level where I want to be," said Zvonareva, who next faces Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues, the 30th seed who beat British qualifier Laura Robson 6-2, 6-3.
Against Bondarenko, Zvonareva started off in an aggressive mode, but she drifted away from that strategy in the second set, in part because of her discomfort in the breezy conditions and in part because of Bondarenko.
"I should have taken more risks in the second and third sets, but I felt like I was a little bit off my rhythm," she said. "Sometimes I felt like I was trying at the wrong times. She would give me deep ball, and I tried to attack it, come into the net, and she would hit a good passing shot.
"And the next time I have a shorter ball and I don't use that opportunity... It was a bit wrong timing."
Although she was disappointed to let a second-set lead slip, Zvonareva was pleased that she was able to regroup.
"I started well the third set and then I was able to play some good rallies when I needed it in the tight moments."