Clijsters beaten by Zvonareva at Wimbledon

Vera Zvonareva edged a gruelling Centre Court battle with US Open champion Kim Clijsters today to set up a Wimbledon semi-final against the unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova.

The Russian showed resilience and class to come from behind and claim a 3-6 6-4 6-2 triumph over the eighth seed.



Zvonareva, the 21st seed, has only reached one grand slam semi-final before - at the Australian Open last year - and now has a strong chance of reaching her first final after Pironkova knocked out Venus Williams.



Zvonareva, who briefly made the world's top five in 2009, had never beaten Clijsters in five previous attempts.

But the most recent meeting had been in 2006, the year Clijsters last played at Wimbledon before her temporary retirement.



The 25-year-old matched Clijsters for power and accuracy during numerous long rallies and kept her nerve under pressure in the final set.



The contest was entertaining from the start with the pair trading powerful groundstrokes during a closely-contested first set.



Clijsters came into the net to finish off a long rally to set up three break points in the sixth game but she hit the net three times and Zvonareva convincingly finished off her recovery.



Both players continued to look in control of their play with the Belgian producing some aggressive tennis to save two break points in the seventh game.



Clijsters used her momentum in the next game to put Zvonareva under pressure and a double fault handed her break point, which she won thanks to a powerful forehand, before serving successfully for the set.



But Zvonareva showed no sign of folding as she started the second set with two powerful service games and came close to breaking Clijsters with a backhand lob before the Belgian recovered strongly.



Zvonareva did break in the fourth game, winning four points in a row as she was finally rewarded for her resilience during the multiple lengthy rallies.



Both players continued to bring out the best in each other and Clijsters fought back strongly to prevent her opponent serving for the set.



Zvonareva found herself doing the splits in a vain attempt to reach a backhand, which set up two break points, and Clijsters succeeded at the second attempt when her backhand dropped fortuitously down off the net.



However, she double-faulted twice in the subsequent game to gift Zvonareva the set.



Zvonareva immediately served to love before forcing two break points but Clijsters produced an ace at the perfect moment on her way to holding her serve.



She was not so successful when facing her second break point in her next service game, over-hitting a volley to hand the Russian a 3-1 lead.



Zvonareva continued to hold her serve and forced two match points on Clijsters' serve.



The Belgian saved one after a huge rally but then hit the net in the next to give Zvonareva victory.



The Russian said: "It's definitely one of my dreams to be playing here in the semi-finals. I remember as a kid watching Wimbledon on TV.



"I'm looking forward to the semi-final and really excited about this game.



"It's amazing because I have played her a few times and they were always tough matches, but she was just better than me in those days. I was able to hang in and played good tennis."



Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on