Vera Zvonareva Defeats Ana Ivanovic In 2011 Carlsbad Semifinals; Radwanska Awaits In Final

Vera Zvonareva

For some, there is no such thing as a moral victory. It’s either win or lose. In the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open at Carlsbad, Ana Ivanovic lost to Vera Zvonareva, 5-7 6-4 6-4. Ana left the court without a win, but she was far from being a loser, in my book. Vera had a clear gameplan, to pound Ana’s suspect backhand side, sparingly hitting to Ana’s forehand. It was a good strategy, as Vera opened with a break which she carried all the way to 5-4 in the opening set, serving to close it out, 6-4. It’s funny in tennis how one point can seem to swing momentum. On the first point of the close out game, Vera pounced on a short return by Ana and attempted to rip a big forehand. However, it just caught the top of the net and bounced back on Vera’s side. Just one point, 0-15. But for the rest of the set Vera seemed out of sorts. Had she made that shot, she’d have been up to start her serve game, and I believe would have closed it out. Instead, Ana took that little sliver of hope and seized the moment, breaking Vera for 5-5, holding serve for 6-5 and breaking Vera again to  win the first set, 7-5. To add injury to insult, Vera double faulted on set point.

Ana Ivanovic

But Vera did not become the #3 player in the world (once as high as #2) by not being able to come back from adversity. She broke Ana in the third game of the second set to go up 2-1 and serving. At that point Ana held a 10-1 forehand winner advantage, but she could not win the big points from Vera. Ana started to actually have easier holds on serve while Vera struggled a bit for the rest of the set. Particularly, Ana had double break point against Vera in the eighth game. However, Vera would not relent as she held serve and went on to close out the set on her 7th set point, 6-4.

Vera jumped on Ana right away in the third set breaking in the first and third games to go up 3-0 and serving. New Ana coach Nigel Sears came right down to the court to talk to Ana at the changeover. It wasn’t so much a technical speech as it was encouragement for Ana to keep fighting, knowing that it’s tough out there when somebody like Vera is playing so well.

This is where in the past Ana has had a reputation for folding the tent. She did anything but that here. Vera held easily for 4-0, but then Ana kept fighting. Ana held serve for 1-4, fell behind 1-5, then held again for 2-5. She then broke Vera to get back to 3-5, still one break down, held serve for 4-5 and put the pressure on Vera to close out the match. Although Vera ultimately did so, 6-4, it was how Ana played coming down the stretch. Had that Ana been there the entire match, it might have been a different outcome. I’ve seen Ana just completely get down on herself and go away in matches. She didn’t this time. Yes, she lost the match. But her fighting spirit, often questioned in the past, is there and under Nigel Sears could be fanned into a flame that will serve her well in the coming months. Ana might have finally found the coach to lift her game to where it once was.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Awaiting in the final will be Agnieszka Radwanska, who won a match againt newly minted top 10 player Andrea Petkovic which included Andrea sprinting off the court during one of her service games with gastrointestinal problems. It was a strange see-saw match that honestly, had Petkovic been healthy might have gone a different direction. But in the end, we have the top seed Zvonareva against third seed Radwanska in what should be a great final.

Singles – Semifinals
(1) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (5) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 57 64 64
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (2) Andrea Petkovic (GER) 46 60 64

ANA IVANOVIC

VERA ZVONAREVA

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA

ANDREA PETKOVIC

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