Zvonareva Toughs It Out, Wozniacki Too
Published May 18, 2011 12:00
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Top 2 seeds of the Brussels Open made their first appearances at the inaugural Premier-level event on Wednesday and both were pushed hard by unheralded opponents, particularly Vera Zvonareva, who had to battle back from a first set blowout to make it into the next round.
Zvonareva, the No.2 seed, lost a lopsided first set to Galina Voskoboeva and would eventually find herself down 62 32, but like she has done so many times before, she rallied back to beat the Kazakh qualifier in three sets, 26 64 63.
"It was my first time playing here and I had to get used to the conditions, new court, new balls, new atmosphere," Zvonareva said after the match. "Not only was I a little bit slow at the start but she was playing well. She qualified here so she was used to the conditions. But I found my rhythm and got better as the match went on. Now I have another chance for another match here."
World No.3 Zvonareva has had somewhat of a different clay court season to the other top players on the WTA. "After Miami I went home and practiced indoors on a fast surface. That kind of threw me off as I had to travel to Stuttgart and Madrid right away and never got used to it... but I went to Barcelona for four weeks to hit on the clay, which was good. Before today I didn't have any matches for a few weeks but I'm happy I made it through here today."
Zvonareva was also featured in the WTA's new marketing campaign, Strong Is Beautiful, which was launched last week. "It's a very beautiful campaign that shows us as strong athletes but also as beautiful girls. To reach the top of women's tennis takes more than just hitting the ball - it's about personality, commitment, determination and desire. It's about all of that. This campaign is great because it shows the players from all of these different angles."
Although she finished it off in straight sets, Caroline Wozniacki had to work very hard as well, rallying from a break down in both sets and finally beating American Varvara Lepchenko on her fifth match point, 64 76(5).
No.3 seed Francesca Schiavone, No.6 seed Yanina Wickmayer, No.7 seed Alexandra Dulgheru and No.8 seed Peng Shuai all won in straight sets, but No.4 seed Jelena Jankovic fell to Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson, 36 63 63.
"Jelena and I have had battles before and I had match points last time, so I really wanted to win this time," Arvidsson said. "Usually you play the big players on the big courts, but today we were on a smaller court, so many that was an advantage for me. Anyway, I'm happy to win today and get my revenge."
Arvidsson will face Peng next. "The last time I played Peng was in Fed Cup last year and I had eight match points and lost, so it's another chance for revenge. She's playing well and having a good season, so it will be tough."