Vera Zvonareva wins epic final

Vera Zvonareva maintained Russia’s stranglehold on the DFS Classic today by winning her first ever title on grass, downing American Jamea Jackson in an epic final played over two tight tie-break sets. The 21 year old from Moscow won the marathon match 7-6(12),7-6(5) to claim her fourth career title. “I really enjoyed today. It means so much to win here as we had such a great fight out there. It ‘s been a while since I’ve been the winner,” said Zvonareva. “I’ll definitely be back next year as I’ve had such a great week here. The fans really know their tennis and are supportive,” added the Russian.

The match hinged on the exciting first set tie-break, which at 26 points, is the longest on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this year. Jackson held four set points, before Zvonareva eventually clinched it 14-12 on her fifth set point. The Russian then built a strong 4-0 lead in the second set, before Jackson came storming back to win five games in a row much to the crowd’s delight. For those fans disapointed by Sharapova’s exit in the semi finals, they were treated to some of the best tennis ever played at the Edgbaston Priory Club today.

“She came back very strong and started going for her shots in the second set,” said Zvonareva. “It was really tough, but I took my chances.” Zvonareva will now return to the top 50, having fallen as low as 78 last week and having been as high as nine in August 1994. Jackson’s reward for the best week of her career will be a new ranking in the mid-50’s.

“My last match with Maria (Sharapova) definitely took a lot out of me today,” said Jackson. “In the first set tie-break I tightened up and I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been.” “I really fought out there for every point though and was able to get more aggressive and that helped me come back in the second set. The wins I have had this week and the way I have played means that my game has gone up a few levels. It’s been the best week of my career.”

The 2006 DFS Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club was once again a huge success breaking its attendance record for the third year running. A total of 14,230 attended this year’s event, up from 12,194 last year.

18.06.06, Report by Colin Banks