Zvonareva blows past Ivanovic | sports | Hindustan Times
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Zvonareva blows past Ivanovic

Vera Zvonareva captured the biggest title of her career on Sunday, defeating former world number one Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to win the Indian Wells WTA title.

sports Updated: Mar 23, 2009 07:32 IST

Vera Zvonareva captured the biggest title of her career Sunday, defeating former world number one Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to win the Indian Wells WTA title.

Russia's Zvonareva, the fourth seed, denied fifth-seeded Ivanovic a second straight title in the 4.5 million-dollar tournament, one of the elite premier mandatory events on the women's tour.

The 24-year-old kept her composure in gusting winds that swirled around stadium court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, contributing to 46 unforced errors from Ivanovic.

Both players struggled with the conditions, which interfered with their service tosses, stirred up occasional clouds of dust and forced a few rallies to be abandoned as debris was blown across the court.

"Thanks to all of you for coming out today and staying with us in this crazy weather," Zvonareva told the crowd.

"After a couple of games I knew that the conditions were very difficult and it's not going to change. So I have to fight for every point, I have to adjust my game," Zvonareva said.

"I think I did pretty well. Even if I was down love-40 in the game I was playing for it. Maybe I was a little bit better at doing that today than Ana."

Under the circumstances, it wasn't surprising to see each player broken twice in an opening set that lasted an hour and 18 minutes.

Zvonareva saved three set points in the 12th game, holding serve to force the tiebreaker.

"I'm very disappointed with the set points that I didn't use," said Ivanovic, the French Open champion who held the number one ranking for a total of 12 weeks last year but has now fallen to number seven.

"I think all of them I lost on the same mistake, it was always a few more steps missing. I doubted whether I should still go for my shots, just try to make her play, because conditions were very hard."

Ivanovic took a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker, but surrendered the set with three straight forehand errors.

The Serbian broke Zvonareva in the opening game of the second and held for a 2-0 lead, but wouldn't win another game.

"Honestly, they were the toughest conditions I ever played in," Ivanovic said.

Zvonareva, the Olympic bronze medallist in Beijing last August, captured her ninth career title and second of the season after her victory at Pattaya City in February.

She is projected to pass American Venus Williams for the number five spot when the WTA rankings are released on Monday, moving up from her current sixth in the world.