NEW YORK, Sept 10, 2010 (AFP) - Vera Zvonareva stunned top seed Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open on Friday, winning their semi-final 6-4, 6-3 with a superb display of shot-making.
The seventh-seeded Russian dominated from the start, pinning Wozniacki back behind the baseline with her powerful baseline drives and drawing a succession of errors from the normally rock-solid Dane.
|Vera Zvonareva of Russia serves against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark on September 10, 2010. AFP|
The win puts her into a second straight Grand Slam final after Wimbledon, where she lost to Serena Williams, and ends Wozniacki's dream of going one better than last year here, when she was runner-up to Kim Clijsters.
"It was tough as Caroline was in the final last year and she is a great player, but I was patient and aggressive like in my previous matches," Zvonareva said.
"It was a great experience at Wimbledon but it's something that is in the past and I am trying to look forward."
Zvonareva will play in the final the winner of the second semi-final opposing defending champion and second seed Clijsters of Belgium and two-time former winner Venus Williams of the United States
The 20-year-old Dane Wozniacki reached the last four for the loss of 17 games, the least at the US Open since Serena Williams dropped just 14 in 2002. Her quarter-final win over Dominika Cibulkova made her 19-1 since Wimbledon.
The 26-year-old Zvonareva's run into the Wimbledon final was a reward for her battle this year to control her often-volatile emotional side.
The Russian was the first to strike, breaking Wozniacki in the third game as gusting winds again swept the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and then staving off two break points in the following game to lead 3-1.
Looking the more settled of the two early on, Zvonareva comfortably held firm on her next three service games to pocket the first set 6-4, concluding with two volleys at the net.
Wozniacki's game and success this year has been built around her consistency and athleticism while Zvonareva had a reputation for being unpredictable, but the roles were looking reversed as the Dane was pulled out of her comfort zone.
Zvonareva had another break point against the Wozniacki serve to open the second set, but failed to take it, with the Dane drawing confidence on the next point from a long rally which she won with a superb backhand drive.
Wozniacki was warned by the umpire at the changeover that father and coach Piotr had to stop talking to her from the players' box, and she promptly dropped the next two games to fall to 1-2.
The top seed drew level in the next game, but Zvonareva once again stopped her momentum by breaking at 15 on Wozniacki's serve.
Zvonareva held for 4-2 despite a mini-crisis with broken racquet strings and she served out the match from there on it, clinching it when Wozniacki hit long with an errant forehand.
Wozniacki paid tribute to Zvonareva for ending her 13-match winning streak.
"She was not missing and going for her shots and most were going in," she said.
"I had chances and I made some mistakes that I usually don't do. It was a tough day for me at the office a1nd it had to be today.
"I just need to learm from this, I can look back on this tournament and be proud with what I have achieved."