Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vera Zvonareva

Vera Igorevna Zvonareva (Вера Игоревна Звонарёва, pronounced ( listen); 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.[3] 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 with Bob Bryan. 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. 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.
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.

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