If anyone is in any doubt about how excited Vera Zvonareva is to be competing at Wimbledon again they only need glance at her Twitter feed. Last week she shared a picture of the covered courts with the caption: "I have been missing this place. Thank you for the WC [wild card]" following it up with a "First day of Wimbledon Great atmosphere!" post three days later.
On Wednesday the 2010 Wimbledon finalist had further cause for celebration following her 6-4, 6-7(3), 9-7 victory over Britain’s Tara Moore.
The match had been suspended at one set apiece the previous evening due to fading late but when the Russian returned to do battle on No.2 Court the sun was blazing brightly.
It was Moore who set the pace with a penetrating baseline game that left the former world No.2 and 2010 US Open finalist looking lack-lustre and flat footed.
It was hardly surprising that Zvonareva’s shot making would be on the rusty side. She has spent the past two years contesting a right shoulder injury and illness, which has seen her world ranking plummet to No.566, so when she hit a forehand long to be broken in the opening game there was a sense that it might take her a little time to find her stride.
It certainly did. Despite missing the lines, occasionally by a fraction, other times by an inch, the 29-year-old continued to go for her shots, hitting an astonishing 21 unforced errors in the final set compared with Moore’s 11. Zvonareva's winner tally was a little more impressive – 24 against the 21-year-old’s 13 – and in the end the Russian's aggressive tactics paid off.
The British No.5 served for the match but was unable to close it out and gifted her opponent the break with a double fault.
The lady from Moscow eventually clinched victory in the 16th game and it didn’t take long for the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and holder of 12 WTA titles to tweet her delight: “Thank u for all the support out there! Happy to be thru to the next round!” she wrote.
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