Zvonareva Goes To Finals After Darkening Sunshine

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was fitting the clouds started to cover the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after Vera Zvonareva whisked Caroline Wozniacki out of the tournament, because Sunshine set.

The Russian’s 6-4 6-3 win over the No. 1 seed raised a few eyebrows – especially the CBS executives who wanted to see the rising star in the finals – but it didn’t surprise the hardcore tennis fans, who saw Zvonareva lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon finals. Much like Wozniacki, she is also a rising star, who went from the 21st seed at Roland Garros to No. 7 here in Flushing.

“I always believe in myself,” Zvonareva said.  “I always believe I can beat anyone on the other side of the net if I’m able to play my best tennis.  There is nothing really changed for me, you know.  I know I’m not gonna play perfect tennis all the time, like most of the players, but that’s what we all trying to do.

“I know if I’m doing it, if I’m playing well, I can beat anyone.”

Today she proved just that. Controlling the match from the outset, the 26 year-old was able to break and then hold Wozniacki during the third game of the first set to easily cruse to a 6-4 win.  Zvonareva was able to control the match from the baseline, putting her younger opponent on heels, running from side to side, trying to track down balls.

“I think it’s the same probably as the previous match, very similar,” Zvonareva said. “It’s the right balance between being patient and being aggressive.  You know, with those windy conditions you have to play sometimes ugly, you know.  You don’t have to expect to play your best tennis.”

“That’s what I did well.  I was not expecting to play my best tennis, but, you know, I was trying to be patient when I needed, and step up when I got the chance.”

She got chances also early in the she when she went up a break, but Wozniacki broke back to show some fight. Yet, that game was the last the Pilot Pen winner won, as Zvonareva was able to break back and then serve for the win.

“She played a really good game, definitely,” Wozniacki said.  “You know, she was not missing a lot.  She was going for her shots.  Most things were going in.  You know, I had chances, and I don’t know, I made some mistakes today that I usually don’t do.

“Yeah, it was a tough day for me in the office, and unfortunately it was today.  That’s the way tennis is sometimes.”

Now Zvonareva will look for her first Grand Slam win by taking on Kim Clijsters tomorrow night. It will be a very interesting matchup as Clijsters is undefeated in Flushing Meadows since her comeback last year and leads the head to head matchup 5-2, but the two losses came this year. One at Wimbledon and then later this summer in Montreal.

“Any match with Kim will come down to the tough challenge, you know,” Zvonareva said.  “She’s a great mover on the court.  She has a lot of experience.  She won here last year.  You know, it’s going to be tough.  You know, we played a couple of matches for the past couple of months, but those matches are in the past.

“I will think about what worked the best for me, and I will try to take it with me tomorrow, and, you know, do it again.  Those things that didn’t work well for me, I tried to avoid them.  That’s it.”

And as for Wozniacki, it’s back to the drawing board for her Grand Slam, but as Annie once sung, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”

That means Sunshine as well.