Former world number 2 wins her first title in 6 years!

Tennis - Vera Zvonareva missed the whole 2013 and 2016 seasons, but she is back on the winning way

by Jovica Ilic
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Former world number 2 wins her first title in 6 years!

32-year-old Vera Zvonareva was the world number 2 back in 2010, playing in the final of Wimbledon and the US Open that year, and she won 12 WTA titles, the last one coming in Baku in 2011. She ended that season ranked 7th in the world, but from 2012 she had to deal with injuries that were keeping her off the court more and more.

After a horrible 6-1 6-0 loss to Serena Williams at the Olympics in August, Vera decides she has had enough, taking a break from tennis and missing the entire 2013 season. 2014 comeback wasn't that successful and she has been sidelined again after Wimbledon, skipping the rest of the season as well.

Zvonareva was back on the court in the first 3 months of 2015 but that didn't go well too, and we haven't seen her on the court until April 2017! With a strong desire to try again in her beloved sport, Vera prepared herself for another revival, losing early in ITF Womens Circuit in Istanbul and Fergana.

Last week she received a wild card for $15,000 event in Sharm El Sheikh on hard, and she finally delivered some of her old magic, beating 5 rivals to claim the title, the first in 6 years. She was off to a great start in the first 3 matches, losing 11 games in total to enter the last 4, and she had to work really hard in the last two encounters, bouncing back from a 1-6 set and edging Tereza Mihalikova 1-6 7-6 7-5 in 3 hours to conquer the trophy.

Vera opened her campaign against the 6th seed Ekaterina Yashina, beating her 6-3 6-2 in 77 minutes, scoring 4 breaks and losing serve just once. A day later, Kanika Vaidya fell down by 6-0 6-2 in 61 minutes, in what has been a great return display from Zvonareva, who won every game on her rival's serve to control the scoreboard.

The quarter-final saw another great performance from the Russian, she dismantled the top seed Jacqueline Cabaj Awad by 6-3 6-1 in 59 minutes. Vera had 13 break points, converting 6 to stay in front from start to finish, despite being broken twice.

It was very important for Vera that she raced through these 3 matches in no time at all, preserving much-needed energy for the tougher rivals, and she had to play for 2 hours and 14 minutes to beat the 4th seed Brenda Njuki by 1-6 6-4 6-1 for the place in the final.

It wasn't the best match overall, with 28 break points, and Vera recovered in time to gain control and roll towards the victory, with 5 breaks under her belt. 19-year-old Tereza Mihalikova stood between Zvonareva and the title, and Russian prevailed by 1-6 7-6 7-5 in 2 hours and 58 minutes to complete the perfect week.

Thanks to that opening set, Mihalikova won 4 points more in total, but it wasn't enough in the end, despite she was 3-1 up in the final set. ALSO READ: Wimbledon - Men's Singles: Murray writes history, Muller stuns Nadal 15-13!

Vera Zvonareva
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