Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, hits a return to Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, during a 7-6, 6-4 victory on the second day of competition in Doha.
Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, hits a return to Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, during a 7-6, 6-4 victory on the second day of competition in Doha.
Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, hits a return to Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, during a 7-6, 6-4 victory on the second day of competition in Doha.

Zvonareva edges through

Vera Zvonareva beats Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 6-4 to claim her second victory of the WTA Championships in Doha.

Vera Zvonareva beat Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 6-4 yesterday to claim her second victory of the WTA Championships in Doha and stay in the hunt for the year-end world No 1 ranking.

In contrast to her straightforward victory over Jelena Jankovic, the ailing Serb, Zvonareva was pushed hard by Azarenka, who arrived in the Qatari capital fresh from capturing her second title of the year in Moscow.

After an uninspired opening, punctuated by a bizarre breakdancing interlude on the purple-coloured court following the second change over, Zvonareva's superior ground strokes began to tell as Azarenka became increasing erratic and emotional.

The 21-year-old from Belarus squandered a glorious chance to break in the eighth game, letting out a deafening shriek of frustration.

The first set went to a tiebreak, Zvonareva breaking immediately to jump out to an early lead and, despite struggling on her own serve, she wrapped it up 7-4.

In the second set, Zvonareva had Azarenka on the back foot, arrowing deep backhands to the corners and finding her target with consistency.

Despite playing a day earlier, the Russian was the one dictating the pace, pushing Azarenka around the court and forcing her into a string of unforced errors.

At 5-4 down, Azarenka saved two match points but netted a weak forehand on the third to hand victory to the Russian.

Caroline Wozniacki, the top seed, was in a ruthless mood as she beat Elena Dementieva in her first match at Doha.

The Dane - a six-time winner on the tour this year - was a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 winner and lost just eight points on serve to win the round-robin clash inside 53 minutes. Samantha Stosur beat Italian Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-4 as she gained revenge for her French Open final defeat.

In men's play Jurgen Melzer, the defending champion, defeated Lukasz Kubot of Poland 7-6, 7-6 to reach the quarter-finals of the Bank Austria Trophy in Vienna yesterday.

Melzer, top-seeded on tour for the first time, had an early break but then lost four games in a row to go 5-3 down. He saved a set point when Kubot served at 5-4, and took the opening set on his first chance in the tiebreaker.

Melzer went 4-1 up in the second but again needed a tiebreaker, and converted his first match point when Kubot netted a return.

"It was far from easy as he took many risks," Melzer said of Kubot, who served 13 aces but also nine double faults. "I was more consistent and tried to stick to my own game."

Melzer, at a career-high 12th ranking, said winning the first set from 5-3 down was key.

"I was very glad to take that opener," the Austrian said. "From then on, I knew I had to rely on my own strengths."

In the quarter-finals, Melzer will take on either seventh-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber or German Tobias Kamke.

In first-round play, Bjorn Phau had a surprise 6-2, 6-4 win over fellow German Florian Mayer, who lost his third career final to Roger Federer in Stockholm on Sunday.

Phau next plays fourth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis, who had a bye in the first round.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National