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3-Hour Match Against Zvonareva Ends In Defeat For Serena

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

American Serena Williams agonizes during match with Russian Vera Zvonareva.

EASTBOURNE, United Kingdom (AFP) — Serena Williams hit the wall in her career comeback at Eastbourne Wednesday after only one victory, with top seed Vera Zvonareva sending the American back to the practise courts.

The Russian's 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 three-hour triumph was revenge for a Wimbledon final a year ago won by Williams, now ranked 26th after nearly a year out of the game.

Williams was appearing in Eastbourne for the first time after two operations on a foot she cut after last year's Wimbledon followed by further surgery in February to remove blood clots from her lungs.

Zvonareva lost to the American in the last match Williams played prior to this week, the All-England club final nearly 50 weeks ago.

"It was definitely tough," said the winner, also a US Open finalist last autumn.

"Serena is such a champion. She's making an unbelievable comeback. We had a battle out there."

Williams served for a straight-set victory leading 5-4 in the second set only to double-fault it away.

That gave Zvonareva new life, with the Russian showing mental strength in a see-saw contest as Williams struggled in saving 15 or 21 break points and producing seven double-faults.

After squaring the sets, Zvonareva, who held a 5-2 lead at one point, was unable to convert on three match points in the tenth game of the third, dropping serve for 5-all.

But the relieved Russian re-broke a game later and finally served out the victory.

"I was trying my best, everything was tough. I'm happy with how I played and I'm very happy to get this win," said Zvonareva.

Photos by Getty Images

Posted by Shelia

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