Vera's patience pays off
Sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva waited through two rain delays totalling three and a half hours to pull off a come-from-behind victory Wednesday over Maria Kirilenko in the Cincinnati Women's Open.
The two Russians needed a total of six hours, 54 minutes to complete their match. Zvonareva won 7-5, 2-6, 7-6, seizing the victory after a rain delay of two hours and 19 minutes that came with the 28th-ranked Kirilenko leading 5-2 in the third set.
When they returned to the court, Zvonareva won three straight games, and once she'd forced the tiebreaker she took control of that by winning the first three points.
"I always believe in myself," she said. "It doesn't matter if I'm down 5-0, I think I can win it."
Zvonareva, who is scheduled to face 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta in the third round, did know that the match was her longest in one day.
"Sometimes, they're delayed to the next day, but as far as going back and forth in the same day, that's the longest," she said.
Third-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva became the highest seed to be sent packing as she fell to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-3 in another all-Russian clash.
"I had nothing to lose," said Pavlyuchenkova, who'd lost her previous two matches against Dementieva. "I just wanted to enjoy the match, give her a good game and focus on the future.
"I've had a lot of chances in my other matches against her, but on the deciding points, I would go for it and rush. This time, I tried to not make the same mistake and be more consistent. She didn't really start well, and I tried to take advantage."
Dementieva, ranked sixth in the world, blamed the steamy weather for what she described as the "worst match in a long time for me."
"I just felt like I wasn't into the game," she said. "My concentration wasn't there. I just wasn't ready 100 per cent."
Pavlyuchenkova next plays 13th-seeded Israeli Shahar Peer, who moved on with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nuria Llagostera Vives.
While Zvonareva needed almost seven hours to win, second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki needed just 51 minutes to advance with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Sybille Bammer.
Wozniacki had just four unforced errors to Bammer's 28.
Seventh-seeded Agnieska Radwanska advanced almost as easily, dismissing Alisa Kleybanova 6-4, 6-1.
Christina McHale, the last American in the tournament, stayed alive with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Ayumi Morita, setting up a third-round clash with defending US Open-champion Kim Clijsters.
Clijsters, the fourth seed, waited out a 54-minute rain delay after the first three games of the opening set and advanced with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Dinara Safina.
Their match came right after 10th-seeded Maria Sharapova beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-1.
Earlier, French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was toppled by Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4.
Schiavone, ranked eighth in the world and seeded fifth, won the first three games of the match but dropped six of the next seven. Vesnina then broke her to open the second set en route to the victory.