Zvonareva makes victorious return in Dalian after two-year hiatus

Updated: 

Former world number two Vera Zvonareva made a triumphant return to WTA Tour main-draw action after over two years out, beating fourth seed Chang Kai-chen in the Dalian Open first round.

Zvonareva, an Olympic bronze medallist and two-time grand slam finalist, made her first non-qualifying appearance on the Tour since April 2015 and came away with a gruelling 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 victory in two hours and 50 minutes.

The 32-year-old Russian got married and had a child during her hiatus - the second of her career after she missed the entire 2013 season due to a shoulder injury - and made a strong start in her attempt to roll back the years.

Next up for Zvonareva will be Gao Xinyu, a 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 winner against Rebecca Peterson.

Zarina Diyas, Han Xinyun and Jana Fett were the other seeds in action and all triumphed, though only the latter could do so without the need for a third set.