It was third-time lucky for Vera Zvonareva in Doha as she shocked top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki to win the WTA Qatar Open on Saturday.
Zvonareva, the second-seed, won 6-4, 6-4 to break her title hoodoo in Qatar where she has lost twice in the finals — to Maria Sharapova in this event in 2008 and to Venus Williams in the season-ending WTA Championships the same year. Qatar is making a comeback to the regular WTA circuit after a two-year break.
“It’s a special moment for me. I have so many fans here and it’s an unbelievable feeling to come to Doha and win this tournament,” the Russian said. “It was a tough match and I had to play aggressive and go for my shots.”
Wozniacki, who was gunning for her 14th title and the second inside seven days after her victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final of the Dubai Open last Sunday, failed to come up with the extra bit of energy and resolve against a hard-running, experienced player like Zvonareva.
The Danish superstar failed to convert the big points, allowing Zvonareva to take control at crucial stages of the match.
Zvonareva began with a bang to set things in motion with a break in the very first game of the match, but Wozniacki hit back to level only for he Russian to break again in the third game to take a 2-1 lead from where she never looked back.
Wozniacki, however, had a golden chance to break Zvonareva’s hold on the game when she led 40-0 on the Russian’s serve in the eighth game when she was ahead 4-3, but the world No. 1 blew three break-points to go down 5-3. Zvonareva then served out the 10th game to win the set.
Wozniacki looked like picking up the pieces in the second set when she secured the first break, in the second game, but Zvonareva bounced back in style by breaking back in the third to go up 2-1.
The Russian then had another break in the fifth to lead 3-2 and then went up 4-2, at which stage Wozniacki appeared to give up, showing her frustration by banging her racket on the court.
Games went with serve after that, with the result that Wozniacki had to break Zvonareva in the 10th game to stay in the match. However, the Russian was in no mood to throw it all away this time as she held her nerve as the game went to deuce, her task made easy when Wozniacki hit wide.
“I had a great few days, but today it was Vera’s day,” Wozniacki said. “I had my chances, but she really played well. I failed to convert several break-points.”