FAMILY CIRCLE CUP (Charleston, South Carolina, USA; green clay; WTA Tier I)
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First round (Monday 10th April)
+ Vera Zvonarëva d. Elena Vesnina, 6-4 5-7 6-2
Bepa recovered from *3-5 to *5-5 in the second set, but double-faulted twice to go down 5-6*, then made a bunch of errors as the not-unattractive Vesnina served out the set.
But it's very nice that Bepa's first-round losing-streak is over. Now she's gone out in the second round of three tournaments in a row, and I'm praying for better luck with the draws as well as 'Bepa' form.
Second round (Tuesday 11th April)
- Vera Zvonarëva lt. DINARA SAFINA , 7-5 7-5
In the first set, Bepa saved two set-points at 4-5*, but was then "badly broken" in the following game.
In the second set, Bepa had a 4-1* lead, then lost four games in a row, and Safina failed once again to serve it out at 5-4.
It had been a long time since I had seen Zvonareva play, and I had forgotten how quickly and deftly she moves on the court, what good anticipation she has, and how beautiful that stinging backhand of hers is.
Zvonareva can do it all, but she is still so mentally fragile. Throughout the match, she talked animatedly to herself, whacked her racquet on the court surface, and looked as if she were going to implode. She changed her racquet so many times, we began to wonder where this endless cache of racquets was coming from.
She and Safina exchanged fast, deep groundstrokes in long rallies that were, at times, breathtaking. Both volleyed well, and both made some outstanding shots. It was steamroller tennis from the first moment to the last.
Safina had chances to close both sets at 6-4, and buckled under the pressure repeatedly. Had Zvonareva just held herself together a bit better, she could have turned Safina's missed opportunities around to her own advantage. For her part, Safina was able to deliver the really big winners at crucial moments.
So it sounds like it was a fun match to watch, and the other good news is that Bepa told Sam of www.zvonareva.com
that the viral infection she had last summer is gone. However...
VERA ZVONARËVA/MEILEN TU :
1r + Gabriela Navrátilová/Vladimíra Uhlírová, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4
2r - Mara Santangelo/Mashona Washington, 6-7 (4/7) retired
Bepa sprained her ankle (we don't know which one, because wtatour.com hasn't been updated yet) at 3/2 in the tiebreak, took an immediate medical timeout, won the tiebreak and then retired!
Bepa was out for seven weeks last year, including the US Open, after spraining her left ankle at San Diego in early August. That was a particularly nasty sprain, so I can only hope it's not so serious (and preferably her right ankle) this time, and won't affect her preparations for the European red-clay season. She is expected to recover in time for Estoril (week of 1st May).
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/zvona/ (added 1 external link)