Vera Zvonareva, A 2011 Wimbledon Darkhorse?

Vera Zvonareva In Wimbledon 2010 Final

With all the talk swirling around the return of Serena and Venus, the withdrawal and continued injury plight of Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki seeking her first Major title and possible runs to the title by Maria Sharapova and Li Na, it’s not hard to see how a player ranked #3 in the world and a finalist at Wimbledon 2010 could be seen as a darkhorse. But there wasn’t much talk about Vera Zvonareva until she defeated Serena Williams at Eastbourne in a rematch of their Wimbledon 2010 final, won by Serena. I can’t say that Vera has had a poor year. After all, she did win Doha, defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final, and has a few semifinal appearances, including a loss to Clijsters at the first Major of the year, the Australian Open. But after Vera’s final finishes at Wimbledon 2010 and the US Open 2010, I thought there would be a bit more from Vera in 2011. Obviously, I am talking about extremely high expectations given what she has already accomplished so far this year. Still, I don’t see anything that tells me she will reach the final again this year.

After beating Serena at Eastbourne, she let Samantha Stosur off the hook in the next match, losing in three tough sets. I think Vera has #1 in the world talent, but something keeps her from making that step from being Top 5 to being the best. Of course, the argument can be made that the “something” that prevents Vera from rising to the top is Caroline Wozniacki (and when healthy, Kim Clijsters). But she can beat both of them and has done so in impressive fashion. But when the brightest lights are on, like in the US Open final, Clijsters can raise her game to another level. Can Vera do the same under the toughest conditions? She had better, if she wants to win Wimbledon 2011.

2011 Eastbourne Zvonareva d. S. Williams

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