Fri, Jul 02, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Zvonareva bounces back to earn place in final

AFP , LONDON

Vera Zvonareva reacts during her women’s singles semi-final match yesterday at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

PHOTO: AFP

Russian 21st seed Vera Zvonareva reached the women’s singles final at Wimbledon with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova yesterday.

Zvonareva fought back from a set down to subdue Pironkova in a hard-fought semi-final on Centre Court to reach the first grand slam final of her career.

Since turning professional 10 years ago, Zvonareva has been dogged by doubts about her temperament as she failed to fulfil her undoubted potential. She was perceived as a choker who would crumble at the most important moments.

Injuries have also blighted her career, but the 25-year-old has become a more confident, mature player in the last year.

Pironkova’s expectations were so low heading into Wimbledon that she only arranged for accommodation for the first week of the tournament. The 22-year-old’s apartment booking ran out before the semi-final so the Bulgarian embassy had to find her emergency accommodation.

Yet, with her confidence sky-high after stunning wins over Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli in previous rounds, Pironkova continued to play with intelligence and freedom in the first set.

She was going for her shots right from the start against Zvonareva and made enough of them to break for a 4-2 lead when a fortunate net cord went in her favor. Pironkova had no trouble closing out the first set and looked well on top at that stage.

Zvonareva needed to dig deep now to keep her challenge alive.

In the sixth game of the second set, Pironkova faltered on serve and the Russian went for the kill, breaking with a perfectly-placed volley. She easily held serve to take the set and level the match.

Zvonareva broke in the first game of the final set when the Bulgarian sent a forehand long. When Zvonareva held serve moments later, she had won six of the last seven games and the momentum remained with her for the rest of the match.

Zvonareva broke again when Pironkova missed a forehand and then saved two break points before serving out her biggest win

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