Russian No. 21 Vera Zvonareva has made her first career grand slam final with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over unseeded Tszvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.
Tszvetana Pironkova opened her first ever grand slam semifinal by winning the first set 6-3, by one break. It was the eleventh consecutive set Pironkova had won in the tournament, and the WTA No. 82 looked poised to run her way into a shocking spot in the final.
But Zvonareva remained steady, and kept pressure on Pironkova’s increasingly shaky forehand. She rolled through the second set, and despite some nervous moments in the third, won it as well by the convincing scoreline of 6-2.
Zvonareva took incredibly good care of her serve, and was not broken in either the second or third set. Pironkova broke No. 2 Venus Williams in four of her eight return games in the quarterfinal, so for Zvonareva to hold her to just one break in a longer match is extremely impressive.
Zvonareva, previously best known for tears on the court and breakdowns at crucial stages of matches, has certainly picked a good time in her career to become a pillar of mental fortitude.
She was previously known as a player who was easily beaten once she fell behind, but these past two rounds have seen her rally back from a set down for two of the biggest wins of her career, a grand slam final, and a place back in the top 10. None too shabby.
In her first grand slam final, Zvonareva would be a heavy underdog against No. 1 Serena Williams, and would probably be given only a 50/50 shot against Petra Kvitova. But she’s been proving the experts wrong all fortnight, and considering how well she’s playing (and especially serving), it would be foolish to count her out of any match any time soon.