Zvonareva suffers first-round scare
Last year's Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva survived a first-round scare to defeat promising young American Alison Riske 6-0 3-6 6-3 this afternoon.
The second seed is one of the players expected to mount a serious title challenge after her run to the final 12 months ago, where she lost to Serena Williams, but she will certainly have to raise her game from this performance.
There looked little danger when Zvonareva, who also reached the final at the US Open in a stellar 2010, wrapped up the first set to love after only 25 minutes.
The Russian's placement and consistency were simply too much for Riske, whose seven wins on the WTA Tour have all come at the AEGON Classic in Birmingham.
But the 20-year-old dug in to hold serve for the first time at the start of the second set, and from there the momentum of the match changed.
Riske's serve was proving a useful weapon but it was her willingness to move forward in the court and attack the net that really gave her the upper hand.
Suddenly it was Zvonareva who was making the mistakes off the ground and, after breaking in the sixth game, Riske had little trouble polishing off the set.
The American was promptly broken at the start of the decider but her whole-hearted approach had earned her many fans on Court One and she responded impressively to level at 2-2.
She then had a chance for a second consecutive break but she could not take it, and that would prove to be her last opportunity.
Zvonareva piled on the pressure in the eighth game to gain the crucial break before confidently serving out the victory to set up a second-round meeting with fellow Russian Elena Vesnina.
QPR vs Arsenal match report: Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez on the scoresheet for the Gunners
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal describes performance as 'maybe our best match of the season'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Newcastle vs Manchester United match report: Ashley Young scores late winner as Angel Di Maria fails to shine yet again
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin