Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Vera Zvonareva spoils Williams' comeback in Ohio


Vera Zvonareva ended Serena Williams' run in her first tournament in six months, beating the seven-time Grand Slam champion 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the final of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open.

Zvonera, unseeded and ranked 52nd, was to make her second appearance in three years in the championship match of the Tier III event yesterday when she faced fourth-seeded Katarina Srebotnik, who upset defending champion Patty Schnyder 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

Zvonareva lost to Lindsay Davenport in 2004.

Williams, whose ranking dropped to 140th as she missed six months because of a chronic left knee injury, lost just 12 games in winning her first three matches of the tournament in straight sets.

Zvonareva, who was ranked No. 9 in August 2004, fell in the rankings last year while she battled injuries to her left ankle and right shoulder. She dropped just seven games while sweeping her first three matches.

Zvonareva won the first five games of the match to take control of the first set and broke Williams to take a 2-0 lead in the second. Williams responded by breaking Zvonareza, but Zvonareva broke right back to take a 3-1 lead. They traded breaks again in the seventh and eighth games, with Zvonareva taking a 5-3 lead when Williams put a drop shot into the net on break point.

In the other semi-final, the top-seeded Schnyder double-faulted twice during the tiebreaker, including on match point, when her second serve sailed long.

"Strange," Schnyder said. "I got a little tired. I don't know. My second serve is usually pretty reliable. That normally doesn't happen to me."

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