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July 1, 2010

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Wimbledon 2010, London, England, UK
July 1, 2010
Editorial by Jane Voigt


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Jane Voigt

Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva Set for Finals
July 1, 2010 -- The top four seeds of the women's singles draw are supposed to be the last players standing -- ideally. It rarely happens. It didn't happen here. However, there was a real chance today that an unseeded player could have advanced to the final. She would have been the first of her kind at The Championships Wimbledon.
But... it was not to be. Number-one seed Serena Williams defeated Petra Kvitova, the unseeded youngster from The Czech Republic. Vera Zvonareva (#12 seed) stopped unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova, after the Bulgarian steamed rolled through the first set, looking as if the upset was six games away. But... it was not to be.
Queen Serena will attempt to keep her crown for the second year in a row on Saturday. And, Vera Zvonareva will attempt to overthrow her -- off with her head, or something like that. Zvonareva is undoubtedly the underdog. But crazier things have happened this year.
One thing is for certain -- Williams has played many a final on Centre Court. 2006 was the only year, over the last ten, in which a Williams' sister didn't contend for the singles title and the coveted Venus Rosewater Platter.
However, Zvonareva and her doubles partner Elena Vesnina, who are unseeded in that category, toppled number-one seeded Venus and Serena Williams in doubles yesterday during the quarterfinals.
Zvonareva won't have tomorrow to rest because of that. She and Vesnina will play on Court One against Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta (#4 seeds) in the women's doubles semifinals.
Zvonareva's career jumped in the rankings in 2007. She'd worked her way into the top ten. 2008 ended on an up note; she came in second at the year-ending championships in Doha. On February 2, 2009, she reached a career-high ranking of #5, after having reached the semifinals at The Australian Open. In March she won the singles and doubles titles at the BNP Paribas Open, as has been mentioned in these columns.
But her wheels came off in Charleston, South Carolina, at The Family Circle Cup. She caught the edge of her right foot, turned her ankle and tumbled to the ground. She cried out in pain. Fans were horrified and felt helpless. Stadium Court hushed. Zvonareva (seeded #3 there) was driven off in a golf cart in tears. Not until November did she have surgery. The year didn't come out as expected.
She returned to Charleston this year seeded #7. Her ankle was in good shape. She was looking for a spot in the finals, but had to get past Caroline Wozniacki first -- #1 seed. The scene was familiar. Stadium Court on a sunny day.
No one could have predicted the ironic events that followed. Running up to the net to meet a drop shot, Wozniacki tried to slide but caught her right foot on some loose clay. She fell to the court, grasping her ankle. More tears and medics tried to put her back together. She returned to the match for one more game. She was courageous, but retired giving the green light to the finals to her Russian opponent.
Zvonareva was gracious in an awkward position, after the match. She empathized with the Dane only too vividly.
"When I saw Caroline twisted her ankle, I was like I have these flashbacks, and I even feel like I have pain in my ankle right now," Vera said. "I wish her a quick recovery. Hopefully, it's not too serious."
Wozniacki has made a full recovery, never having to have surgery.
Here's another dab of irony... the last time Serena and Vera met was in the final at The Family Circle Cup, 2008. Serena was victorious in three sets. That was then. That was clay.
Stay tuned until the last ball is struck on Saturday on Centre Court. Watch all the drama unfold.
Today was not the best for Miss Pironkova and Miss Kvitova. However, they held themselves together. They didn't melt, implode, or explode. They played their best tennis and came up short. Their losses were expected; however, they could not have scripted a better journey with their brash attacks on seeded players. They played their best tennis. They learned.
"I learned that you just have to play relaxed," Pironkova said. "You just have to go for every point, to fight, never give up. Yeah, it's a very good experience for me."
As for Kvitova, "I get a little bit confident. I happy that I was in the semifinal in the Wimbledon. I will try [to] be better. But, it's a very tough, tough road."

Earlier Columns from this Event:
June 30, 2010 Wimbledon: Federer Out
June 29, 2010 Wimbledon: The Passage
June 28, 2010 Wimbledon: Seeds Fall, New Growth Springs Forth
June 27, 2010 Wimbledon: Odd Men In, Not Out
June 26, 2010 Wimbledon: Saluting The Women Into Second Week
June 25, 2010 Wimbledon: A Deeper Look
June 24, 2010 Wimbledon: Over But Never Forgotten
June 23, 2010 Wimbledon: Stay Tuned... There's More To Come
June 22, 2010 Wimbledon: At The Fringes
June 21, 2010 Wimbledon: What's Luck Got To Do With It?

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