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Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 15:10 UK

Wimbledon 2010: Zvonareva stuns Clijsters in quarters

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
Coverage:
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Vera Zvonareva

Clijsters comeback crushed by Zvonareva

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Russia's Vera Zvonareva held her nerve superbly to beat Kim Clijsters at Wimbledon and reach only her second Grand Slam semi-final.

The 21st seed won 3-6 6-4 6-2 to end the Belgian's first campaign at the All England Club after four years away.

Zvonareva proved much the stronger as the match wore on, with Clijsters' game becoming increasingly ragged.

The 25-year-old from Moscow will next face Tsvetana Pironkova after the Bulgarian stunned Venus Williams.

Clijsters, 27, went into the match with a 5-0 record against Zvonareva but this was their first meeting since the Belgian ended her two-year spell in retirement last summer.

With clouds gathered over Centre Court for the first time in the fortnight, both players made a stuttering start to the quarter-final.

Semi-final spot is a dream - Zvonareva

Clijsters chased down a lob, turned, and fired a backhand winner down the line on a spectacular first point before Zvonareva gave an early sign that she was not about to be streamrollered by coming into the net to angle away a fine volley.

The Belgian saw off an early break point at the net but after making a slow start in her previous match against Justine Henin, she was sloppy again in missing three break points from 0-40 in game four, twice finding the net with regulation groundstrokes.

Clijsters found first serves when necessary to see off another couple of break points at 3-3 and a Zvonareva double-fault opened the door in the following game, allowing Clijsters to power away a forehand on her fifth break point of the day.

It's too bad I wasn't able to come up with my best at the important time in the match

Kim Clijsters

With confidence renewed, the US Open champion resumed her usual breathless pace to rattle off her next service game and seal a scrappy set after 38 minutes.

Zvonareva looked understandably frustrated when a lob missed by inches on break point at the start of the second but she remained more than a match for Clijsters from the baseline and finally earned a break for 3-1.

The Russian looked like she had thrown it away when she was broken at 5-3, thanks in part to a hugely fortuitous net cord for Clijsters on break point, but the Belgian returned the favour with a double-fault on set point in the next game and a final set was required.

As Zvonareva's game had sharpened up over the opening 75 minutes, so the errors had begun to flow from Clijsters, and she needed a big forehand and an ace to fend off two break points at the start of the third.

606: DEBATE

The eighth seed's forehand had almost completely broken down and two errors allowed the increasingly assured Zvonareva to move into a 3-1 lead.

As Clijsters racked up a total of 35 unforced errors, the sometimes temperamental Zvonareva remained impressively calm as she converted her second match point to reach the semis of a Grand Slam for the first time since Australia last year.

"I was able to hang in there and play some good tennis today," Zvonareva told BBC Sport.

"It's definitely been one of my dreams to be here in the semi-finals. I remember as a kid watching Wimbledon on the TV and I'm looking forward to the semi-final, I'm really excited about my game today."

Clijsters said: "It's too bad I wasn't able to come up with my best at the important time in the match. She did. She was very consistent, didn't give me any easy mistakes. I gave her a few too many."



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see also
Clijsters v Zvonareva as it happened
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Pironkova stuns Venus in quarters
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day eight as it happened
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon 2010 - day eight photos
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
More than the games WIMBLEDON 2010: Champion Serena cautious of over confidence - 2 hrs ago
Observer Serena the star amid unseen and unsung - 2 hrs ago
UK Net Guide Kim Clijsters battles past Justine Henin at Wimbledon - 10 hrs ago
Telegraph Zvonerava v Pironkova Q - 13 hrs ago
Boston Globe Serena advances, Venus eliminated - 19 hrs ago


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