Zvonareva avoids upset with marathon comeback; McHale advances

August 11, 2010 11:21 PM
American Christina McHale will face Kim Clijsters in her third-round match

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Two rain delays and one determined opponent almost added up to disaster for Vera Zvonareva.

The sixth-seeded Zvonareva waited through two rain delays totaling 3 hours and 28 minutes before finally overcoming Maria Kirilenko and pulling out a 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (3) win in the second round of the $2 million Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open on Wednesday.

The two Russians needed a total of 6 hours and 54 minutes to complete their match, including a delay of 2 hours and 19 minutes with the 28th-ranked Kirilenko leading 5-2 in the third set. After they returned to the court, the 10th-ranked Zvonareva won three straight games and four of five before taking control of the tiebreaker by winning the first three points. She wasn't sure if the second delay helped.

"I always believe in myself,'' she said. "It doesn't matter if I'm down 5-0, I think I can win it.''

Zvonareva, who is scheduled to face 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta in the third round, did know that the match was her longest in one day.

"Sometimes, they're delayed to the next day, but as far as going back and forth in the same day, that's the longest,'' she said with a laugh.

Third-seeded Elena Dementieva became the highest seed to be eliminated from the tournament when she was upset by 25th-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-3 in another matchup of Russians.

"I had nothing to lose,'' said Pavlyuchenkova, who'd lost her previous two matches against Dementieva. "I just wanted to enjoy the match, give her a good game and focus on the future. I've had a lot of chances in my other matches against her, but on the deciding points, I would go for it and rush. This time, I tried to not make the same mistake and be more consistent. She didn't really start well, and I tried to take advantage.''

The sixth-ranked Dementieva blamed the hot and humid weather for what she described as the "worst match in a long time for me.''

"I just felt like I wasn't into the game,'' she said. "My concentration wasn't there. I just wasn't ready 100 percent.''

Pavlyuchenkova is scheduled to meet 13th-seeded Shahar Peer, who moved on with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nuria Llagostera Vives.

While Zvonareva needed almost seven hours to win, second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki needed just 51 minutes to advance with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Sybille Bammer, who committed 28 unforced errors to just four by Wozniacki. Seventh-seeded Agnieska Radwanska advanced almost as easily, romping over Alisa Kleybanova, 6-4, 6-1.

Christina McHale, the last American in the tournament, stayed alive with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Ayumi Morita, setting up a third-round match with defending US Open champion Kim Clijsters. The fourth-seeded Clijsters got past a 54-minute rain delay after three games of the first - the day's third stoppage - set to advance with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Dinara Safina, right after 10th-seeded Maria Sharapova beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-1.

Earlier, French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was upset by Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match. The eighth-ranked Schiavone, seeded fifth, won the first three games of the match before dropping six of the next seven to lose the first set. Vesnina, ranked No. 49, opened the second set by breaking Schiavone.

Twelfth-seeded Yanina Wickmayer and eighth-seeded Na Li both advanced to face off in the third round. The 11th-ranked Li cruised past No. 36 Sara Errani 6-2, 6-2. The 16th-ranked Wickmayer got past No. 46 Gisela Dulko 7-6 (3), 6-2 before rain delayed the afternoon session for more than an hour.

Pennetta routed Monica Niculescu 6-0, 6-1, while No. 62 Ana Ivanovic also advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 upset of 32nd-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova, her second straight win over a higher-ranked opponent. She knocked off ninth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the first round.

"I finished that first match strong, and I just tried to take that into the match today,'' Ivanovic said.