photo credit:not enough megapixels
The 2010 Wimbledon women’s singles semi finals were both played on Friday. Today the Women’s Singles Final will be played on the centre court at 2pm local time in London in the United Kingdom.
In the 1st semi final 22 year old Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova played No.21 seed Vera Zvonareva in a match where both players were vying for a place in their 1st Grand Slam singles final. The 1.8m Pironkova won the 1st set by 6 games to 3 with a very impressive display of calmness, great serving and precision ground strokes, including a series of inside out backhand winners.
The 24 year old Zvonareva overcame her opponent’s great play, pressure of losing the 1st set and having to win the next 2 sets for the 2nd match in a row. Zvonareva’s inability to channel her emotions into a positive impact on her performance in big matches has brought her to tears in the past. This year she has shown she is up to the task.
Zvonareva has defeated 3 seeded players ranked above her on her way into the final. In the 3rd round she beat No.15 seed Yanina Wickmayer (who made the 2009 Open semi finals), 6-4 6-2. In the round of 16 she defeated No.4 seed Jelena Jankovic 6-1 3-0 before the World No.3 retired. In the quarter finals she came back to win after losing the 1st set against former World No.1 Kim Clijsters. Clijsters had beaten Zvonareva all 5 times that they had played in the past.
Zvonareva is pronounced zvon-ah-RAY-vah click Zvonareva to see another picture of her. The 24 year old Zvonareva will be up against Serena for the 8th time in their careers. The 28 year old Serena holds a 5-2 advantage and 1 of Zvonareva’s wins was a walkover. In their last meeting the 1.75m Serena defeated the 1.73m Zvonareva in the 3rd and final set in Charleston on clay in 2008. This is their 1st match on grass.
Zvonareva will need to do what no other player has done at Wimbledon this year, work out how to neutralise and consistently return the powerful and accurate serve that has served Serena so well to this stage. When asked about Serena’s serve Zvonareva said, “Well, I got the chance to play her in doubles, so I got the feeling of how she plays. But Serena is very talented player. She can serve hard, but she can also serve with a precision. She doesn’t need to use the full power. You know, she can really put the balls on the lines, and that’s what makes it difficult against her. But, you know, I got the feeling in the doubles.”
When asked about her chances in the final Zvonareva said “Serena is a great player, it’s very difficult when she’s serving well, but there are moments she doesn’t make a first serve. I haven’t seen anyone make 100% of first serves. You just have to take your chances then. I remember I played a very good match against her in Cincinnati one year. It was a very, very tough one, but I was able to play the right way against her.”
The Russian is also in the doubles final after defeating the Williams sisters in the quarter finals. The confidence gained form winning so many matches at Wimbledon and having already defeated Serena once this week will be a huge boost for Vera.
Zvonareva came through No.2 seed Venus Williams half of the draw by defeating Pironkova who easily accounted for Venus. Venus is a 5 time Wimbledon champion and was expected to win through to the final as the No.2 seed. Serena goes into this final as the overwhelming favourite to win her 13th Grand Slam singles title after making the final without losing a set. The defending champion beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the semi finals. However, it always only about who can perform on the day and overcome the mental challenges and pressure of the situation.
Zvonareva has the right attitude, she said in her interview after winning through to the final after being asked whether she can see herself lifting the plate, “Yeah, I know it’s a final and everything else, and I’ve had some great matches up to this point. But none of those win me the match tomorrow. I’ve got to go out there and try and play it like any other match, and go out there and play my game and try and block all those other things out.”
The name of the women’s trophy is the Venus Rosewater Dish and the winner will earn 1 million pounds sterling plus 2,000 WTA ranking points. If Zvonareva can consume herself with that mindset of blocking everything out and relentlessly focusing on what she needs to do, then she will win. As the No.21 her seeding is eerily close to that of last months Roland Garros singles champion Francesca Schiavone who was the No.23 seed there.
Despite Zvonareva being way out of Serena’s league in terms of: current rankings – No.1 v. No.21, best Wimbledon performance prior to 2010 – round of 16 (twice) v. triple champion and best performance in a Grand Slam prior to Wimbledon 2010 – semi finalist (2009 Australian Open), v. holder of 12 singles titles she will have the confidence as she knows what to do and that she has done it before, to defeat Serena today.
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about the 2010 Wimbledon singles events. Click this link for more details including both of the Schedules of Play -> Wimbledon 2010: June 14-July 4.
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