Vera Zvonareva broke a run of five straight losing finals and three straight losses to Caroline Wozniacki, to capture her first title in 12 months, defeating the Dane 6-3 6-4 in the final.
This week could really be one of the most important moments in Vera’s 2011. After her run the Australian Open semi-finals, her form looked to be finally regressing after 7/8 months of the best results of her career by a mile. First she failed to defend her lowly Pattaya title, and then followed up that disappointment by getting easily brushed by Alisa Kleybanova.
They may have been only two poor tournaments, but both saw her produce uncharacteristically indecisive and passive tennis, with no real direction. Her form continued in Doha, but with every match there was obvious improvement, culminating in her brutally handling of Karolina in the final, notching up third career win over a world number one in the process. After such a lousy record and indescribably poor performances in her recent big finals, could this prove the big turning point for Vera?
For Karolina, I don’t think she stood any chance against Vera playing her new “aggressive” tennis. Why? When does play more like an aggressive counterpuncher, she effectively comes a much lesser version of Vera herself. Not only is her technique just not good enough to consistently get the ball past a player who moves as well and hits as deep as Vera, but the loopy topspinny “junk” she usually religiously plays with actually inadvertently compliments her defence as it gives her more time to recover and get into the perfect position to defend her opponent’s next shot. She’s not actually that quick or anywhere near as athletic as Vera herself, and it meant Vera found it much easier to get the ball past her.
It’s fine for her to up the aggression against the likes of Pennetta. But she just had no chance against a player of Vera’s quality who is by far a better offensive player than her. More power, much sturdier technique, better angles, movement, footwork, and just a far superior offensive mindset and shot selection. While Pennetta and co were feeding Wozniacki with the perfect balls to attack, Vera was hitting with much more depth, angle and even the occasional high ball or slice which, time and time again, completely exposed Wozniacki’s countless technical hitches on both sides.