Sunday, February 27, 2011
Vera Igorevna Zvonareva (born September 7, 1984 Moscow, Russia) is a professional Russian tennis player. 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 was a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Many analysts of tennis, including Lindsay Davenport and Pam Shriver, have noted that Zvonareva has matured mentally and is able to keep control of her emotions for the duration of a match, evidenced by her runs to the 2010 Wimbledon and 2010 US Open finals.
Zvonareva was born September 7, 1984 in Moscow to Igor Zvonarev and Nataliya Zvonareva (nee 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. 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 Amelie Mauresmo respectively.
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.
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.
Zvonareva reached her first Grand Slam singles final at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, where she was seeded 21st. She defeated Nuria Llagostera Vives, Andrea Hlavackova, 15th seed Yanina Wickmayer, 4th seed Jelena Jankovic, 8th seed Kim Clijsters and Tsvetana Pironkova to reach the final where she fell in straight sets to World No. 1 Serena Williams. Zvonareva rose to World No. 9 following the tournament.
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 Cibulkova 6-1, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, she defeated Daniela Hantuchova 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 Jankovic 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.