Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vera Zvonareva

Vera Igorevna Zvonareva (born September 7, 1984) is a professional tennis player from Russia. She was introduced to tennis at the age of six and turned professional in 2000. She has reached a career high ranking of World No. 2 and is currently ranked World No. 3 by the WTA. Zvonareva has won eleven WTA Tour singles titles and reached the finals of the 2008 WTA Tour Championships, 2010 Wimbledon Championships and 2010 US Open. She also was a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.Zvonareva was born September 7, 1984 in Moscow to Igor Zvonarev and Nataliya Zvonareva (née Bykova). Igor played Bandy in the USSR championship with Dynamo Moscow, while Nataliya played field hockey and was the bronze medalist at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Vera was introduced to tennis at the age of six by her mother, although no other members of her family play tennis.Zvonareva started to compete on the ITF Circuit in 1999, debuting at an ITF tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia. She won three qualifying matches there to reach the main draw before losing in the first round. The next year, she won an ITF event in Moscow, Russia without dropping a set, despite being unranked. The event was just the second event she had played in her professional career. Five weeks later, she made her WTA-level debut at the Tier I tournament in Moscow, beating World No. 148 Elena Bovina before losing to World No. 11 Anna Kournikova in the second round. In 2001, she failed to qualify for WTA events in Key Biscayne, Florida and Moscow, but reached a semifinal at the ITF Circuit tournament in Civitanova, Italy. During this time, she also showed her adeptness in juniors' competition by winning the Orange Bowl under-18s event in 2000 and 2001.

Zvonareva won her second ITF Circuit title in Naples, Florida and in July reached her first singles final on the WTA Tour at Palermo, losing to Mariana Díaz-Oliva in three sets. She also achieved semifinal finishes in Warsaw and Sopot plus a quarterfinal finish in Bol. Zvonareva won three qualifying matches at the French Open to reach the main draw for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament. She lost there in the fourth round to eventual champion Serena Williams 4–6, 6–0, 6–1. Her ranking was high enough for a direct entry into Wimbledon where she lost in the second round to 23rd-seeded Iva Majoli 7–6(5), 6–2. At the US Open, Zvonareva lost to World No. 7 Kim Clijsters of Belgium in the third round 1–6, 7–5, 6–4. Her ranking rose into the top 100 after the French Open and into the top 50 after the US Open.Zvonareva won the title at the Tier III event in Bol, beating Conchita Martínez Granados in the final, and reached three other semifinals (including the Tier II event in Linz). She defeated a top 10 player for the first time when she beat World No. 10 Anastasia Myskina in Berlin. At the French Open, Zvonareva defeated World No. 3 Venus Williams in the fourth round before losing in the quarterfinals to World No. 76 Nadia Petrova. Her French Open results caused her ranking to enter the top 20. She reached the quarterfinals in six out of the seven Tier I events she contested. Her debut for the Russian Fed Cup team was in the World Group quarterfinals against Slovenia. Russia won 5–0 but lost to France 3–2 in the semifinals. In doubles, she reached her first WTA final at Moscow with Myskina. She ended the year ranked World No. 13.

Zvonareva won her first career Grand Slam title, winning the mixed doubles competition at the US Open. She won one singles title, in Memphis, Tennessee, and reached the final of the events in Cincinnati, Ohio and Philadelphia, losing to top ten players Lindsay Davenport and Amélie Mauresmo respectively. In the final of the Memphis event, Zvonareva trailed hometown favorite Lisa Raymond 5–2 in the third set before saving three match points and winning the last five games of the match to win the title 4–6, 6–4, 7–5.[3] In addition to this, she reached the semifinals of three Tier I tournaments in Rome, San Diego, and Montreal. She lost in San Diego to fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina, in a match that featured a final set tiebreak that finished 17–15. Zvonareva and Myskina teamed up in the final of the Fed Cup, playing in the crucial final rubber against Marion Bartoli and Émilie Loit, which the pair won 7–6(5), 7–5 to seal Russia's first ever Fed Cup title. Zvonareva ended the year ranked World No. 11, her best year-end ranking back then. In August, she reached her career high of World No. 9. Because of several withdrawals, Zvonareva was able to compete at the WTA Tour Championships, an event reserved for the top eight players in the world. She was unable to win a match and exited at the round robin stage. She defended her Memphis title in this year when she defeated Meghann Shaughnessy, but she was injured in the second half of 2005 (from June to December). Her ranking dropped from No. 11 to No. 42.In 2006, Zvonareva won her first regular doubles Grand Slam tournament in the US Open, partnering Nathalie Dechy of France. She obtained a second mixed doubles title at Wimbledon, in partnering Andy Ram of Israel. They defeated Americans Bob Bryan and Venus Williams 6–2, 6–3. She garnered some success in singles competition, winning two titles in a season for the first time in her career. This included her first tournament win on grass, at the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England. Her other title came in Cincinnati, where she played a nearly flawless match against Serena Williams in the semifinals, and beat Katarina Srebotnik in the final.

The 2007 season produced a year of mixed fortunes for Zvonareva. At the 2007 Pacific Life Open, she stunned World No. 1 Maria Sharapova, who was the defending champion, 4–6, 7–5, 6–1 in the fourth round. It was her first ever victory over a reigning World No. 1; however, she fell in the next round to Chinese player Li Na. At her next tournament, the Family Circle Cup, she was forced to retire when playing Dinara Safina and down a set, due to a left wrist injury. This injury kept her out of the European clay court season, the grass court season and most of the North American hardcourt season. Once returning to the tour, she reached the third round of the U.S. Open, losing to Serena Williams. At the remaining tournaments on her schedule, she reached the quarterfinals or better at four out of five, with semifinal finishes coming in Luxembourg and Quebec. Her one final came during the first week of the year, in Auckland, New Zealand. Zvonareva began the year by losing to wildcard Marina Erakovic, then ranked World No. 153, at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. She then reached the final of the Tier IV Moorilla Hobart International in Hobart, Australia, where she did not play the final against Eleni Daniilidou because of an ankle injury. This injury also forced her to retire in her first round match at the Australian Open against Ai Sugiyama while trailing 6–3, 1–1. Still playing on hard courts, she then reached the final of the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, beating Dinara Safina, Sybille Bammer, and Li Na along the way. In the final against World No. 5 and fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova, Zvonareva lost in three sets. In March, at the Bangalore Open, Zvonareva lost in the quarterfinals to Venus Williams. Zvonareva then reached the quarterfinals of the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California before losing to eventual champion Ana Ivanović 6–1, 6–4. Two weeks later, Zvonareva reached the semifinals of the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida where she lost to fourth-seeded Jelena Janković 6–1, 6–4.

On clay, Zvonareva then reached her third final overall and second Tier I final of the year at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. En route to the final, she defeated World No. 5 Janković and World No. 8 Elena Dementieva, the first time in her career that she defeated two top 10 players in the same tournament. In the final, she lost to fifth-seeded Serena Williams in three sets. In May, Zvonareva won her first WTA title in nearly two years. At the Tier IV ECM Prague Open, Zvonareva defeated third-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the final. This was her sixth career singles title. She then lost to Venus Williams in the third round of the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome and to Dementieva in the fourth round of the French Open. On grass, Zvonareva lost her first match at the International Women's Open in Eastbourne, United Kingdom and her second round match with Tamarine Tanasugarn at Wimbledon. During the North American summer hardcourt season, commonly known as the US Open Series, she lost in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, the second round of the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles, and the first round of the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal. At the Beijing Olympics, Zvonareva lost in the semifinals to fifth seeded Dementieva 6–3, 7–6(3) but then defeated Chinese player Li Na 6–0, 7–5 to win the bronze medal, her first medal of any kind. These results caused Zvonareva's ranking to rise to a career-high-equaling World No. 9. Two weeks later, Zvonareva was seeded eighth at the US Open but lost in the second round to Tatiana Perebiynis of Ukraine 6–3, 6–3. In September, Zvonareva helped Russia to victory against Spain in the final of the Fed Cup. Zvonareva won the opening match of the tie in Madrid, defeating Anabel Medina Garrigues 6–3, 6–4. At the Guangzhou International Women's Open, a Tier III event, she defeated Zheng Jie in straight sets in a semifinal before beating Peng Shuai in the final. She then reached the semifinals at the China Open in Beijing, losing a three-set match to top-seeded Janković. At the Tier II Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Zvonareva lost in the quarterfinals, again to Janković, 7–6(8), 7–6(5). In her hometown event, the Kremlin Cup in Moscow the week after, Zvonareva beat second-seeded Safina in straight sets in a semifinal but lost to Janković for the third time in three weeks in the final in straight sets. In a second round match against Medina Garrigues at the Zurich Open, Zvonareva retired from the match while trailing 6–3, 3–0. However, she then reached the final of the Generali Ladies Linz in Austria, beating Marion Bartoli in the semifinals 6–0, 6–1 before losing the final to Ivanović in straight sets, hitting 32 unforced errors.

Zvonareva was the seventh-seeded player at the Australian Open. She defeated tenth-seeded Nadia Petrova in the fourth round 7–5, 6–4 and sixteenth-seeded Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals 6–3, 6–0. She then lost to World No. 3 Dinara Safina in the semifinals 6–3, 7–6. This tournament, however, caused Zvonareva's ranking to rise to World No. 5, the highest of her career. In February, she won the Pattaya Women's Open, an International Event in Thailand, where she defeated Sania Mirza in the final. She also played the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, a Premier 5 Event, where she defeated Marion Bartoli in the third round before losing to Virginie Razzano in the quarterfinals 7–6(7), 7–5. In March, Zvonareva was the fourth seed at the first Premier Mandatory event of the year, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. She won the title, overcoming Santa Ana winds and defending champion Ana Ivanović in the final. In the doubles final, she and Victoria Azarenka beat fellow unseeded tandem Gisela Dulko and Shahar Pe'er. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, the second Premier Mandatory event of the year, Zvonareva beat Tathiana Garbin of Italy in the second round before being upset in the third round by Li Na of China 6–4, 3–6, 6–2. Zvonereva had beaten Li the previous week in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. At the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Zvonareva was the third seed and received a first round bye. She beat Rossana de los Ríos in the second round 6–3, 6–2. In the third round against Virginie Razzano, Zvonareva was forced to retire due to an ankle injury. Zvonareva torn two ligaments in her ankle, which later forced her to withdraw from Russia's Fed Cup tie with Italy. The ongoing ankle injury forced her to withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome and the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open and ultimately the 2009 French Open.

At the 2010 Dubai Tennis Championships, Zvonareva defeated compatriot Elena Vesnina in three sets in the first round, and then following it up with a double bagel against qualifier Kirsten Flipkens. She then defeated Jelena Janković in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals, where she lost to Azarenka 6–1, 6–3. Despite being the defending champion at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, Zvonareva lost her 4th round match against Samantha Stosur 6–2, 7–5. With this loss, she fell out of the top 20. In the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Zvonareva lost to Justine Henin 6–1, 6–4 in the fourth round after defeating Melanie Oudin and Sara Errani in straight sets. Her next tournament was the 2010 Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina where she was the 7th seed. She beat Melanie Oudin in straight sets 7–5, 6–2 in the quarterfinals. She advanced to her 2nd final of the year and 2nd Family Circle Cup final after top seed and World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki retired while trailing 5–2 in the semifinals due to a sprained ankle. Zvonareva was then overwhelmed in the final against Australian Samantha Stosur, losing 6–0, 6–3. Zvonareva's next tournament was the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where, as the 15th seed, she lost surprisingly to Petra Kvitová, 6–4 6–0 in the second round. At the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open she lost to Venus Williams 7–5, 6–3 in the second round after defeating Melanie Oudin 6–3, 6–4. Zvonareva was seeded 21st at the 2010 French Open. She defeated Alberta Brianti in the first round, but was then upset by Anastasia Rodionova in the second round in straight sets. Zvonareva's next tournament was the 2010 AEGON International in England, where she lost to María José Martínez Sánchez in three tight sets 6–3, 3–6, 7–5 in the opening round. Zvonareva's first tournament after the US Open was the 2010 Toray Pan Pacific Open, where she was seeded 2nd. She advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to World No. 10 and 7th seeded Elena Dementieva. She then competed in the 2010 China Open, rallying from a set down against Kirilenko in the third round 5–7, 6–4, 6–2 and crushing French Open champion Schiavone 6–2, 6–0 in the quarterfinal. This was her tenth victory over the Italian in ten career meetings. This win ensured that Zvonareva will rise to World No. 3, a new career high record. She then defeated Li Na in the semifinals, before falling to top seeded Wozniacki in the final. Zvonareva qualified for the season ending 2010 WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she was the second seed. She was in the White Group with Kim Clijsters, Jelena Janković, and Victoria Azarenka. Zvonareva went 3–0 in her group and advanced to the semifinals, where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki. She finished the year's season ranked number 2.

At the 2011 Hong Kong Tennis Classic, Zvonareva joined Russia's group and won in the final against Europe. As the second seed at the 2011 Medibank International Sydney, Zvonareva received a bye into the second round, where she was defeated by Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 5-7. Zvonareva was seeded No. 2 at the 2011 Australian Open in singles. She defeated Sybille Bammer 6–2, 6–1 in the first round breaking Sybille Bammer 4 consecutive times. Zvonareva defeated unseeded Bojana Jovanovski in the second round 2–6, 6–3, 6–1. In the third round Zvonareva defeated No. 31 seed Lucie Šafářová in straight sets 6–3, 7–6(9). Zvonareva defeated unseeded Iveta Benešová in the round of 16, 6–4 6-1. She then defeated No. 25 seed Petra Kvitová in the quarterfinal 6–2, 6–4. In the semifinal she was defeated by No. 3 seed Kim Clijsters and winner of the 2011 Australian Open 3–6, 3–6. In the doubles competition she was seeded No. 13 with her partner Elena Vesnina. In the first round they defeated the unseeded pair Monique Adamczak and Isabella Holland of Australia, but were defeated in the second round by unseeded pair Chuang Chia-jung and Hsieh Su-wei. At the 2011 PTT Pattaya Open, Zvonareva was the top seed and was seeking her third consecutive title and second title defense. She defeated Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-2 in the first round, qualifier Nungnadda Wannasuk 6-1, 7-5 in the second round, and Peng Shuai 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Zvonareva was upset by the No. 4 seed Daniela Hantuchová 6(3)-7, 4-6. As the second seed at the 2011 Dubai Tennis Championships, Zvonareva received a bye into the second round. There, she defeated Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-1. In the third round, she was upset by the No. 15 seed Alisa Kleybanova 3-6, 2-6. Zvonareva picked up her first title of 2011 in late February at the 2011 Qatar Ladies Open. She was the No. 2 seed, receiving a bye into the second round, where she defeated Dominika Cibulková 6-1, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, she defeated Daniela Hantuchová 7-5, 6(5)-7, 7-5 in a match lasting over three hours after trailing 5-4 in the third set. She defeated former world No. 1 Jelena Janković 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, and current world No. 1 and top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 in the final. It was Zvonareva's first title in over a year.

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