Bank of West entrant Zvonareva reaches Wimbledon finale

She'll face world No. 1 Serena Williams in championship match

As a former top five ranked player in the world, Vera Zvonareva of Russia has had a great deal of success on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. But over the last two weeks Zvonareva has put together a run to remember at Wimbledon.

Zvonareva, who will be making her fourth appearance at the Bank of the West Classic later this month, has just punched her ticket to the Wimbledon final after defeating two-time U.S. Open winner Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals (Tuesday) and Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in the semifinals on Thursday.

The player field at the 2010 Bank of the West Classic, which will be played July 26-August 1 at Stanford University, is loaded with Grand Slam level competition.

With Zvonareva reaching the finals of Wimbledon, the 2010 Bank of the West Classic will now feature a finalist from the last two Grand Slam events and at least one semifinalist from each of the four previous Grand Slams including 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur, 2010 Australian Open semifinalist Zheng Jie and 2009 US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer.

Zvonareva advanced to the semifinals, also for the first time, by recording a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over eighth seed Kim Clijsters (19-2 career at Stanford) on Tuesday.

Zvonareva, seeded 21st, came back from a set down to beat Clijsters for the first time in six attempts and advance to her second grand slam semifinal, after last year's efforts at the Australian Open.

The win over Pironkova also was big, considering she had upset Venus Williams in the quarterfinals.

"It's very important that my head is relaxed because then I know what I want to do in the next point," Zvonareva said. "I use the towel because it just helps me to relax and not to see what is going on around."

Zvonareva has had tremendous success at the Grand Slams in doubles winning the US Open women's doubles title in 2006, the Wimbledon mixed doubles title in 2006 and the US Open mixed doubles title in 2004.

Zvonareva will be making her fourth appearance at the Bank of the West and the first since she was the third seed in 2008. Her best finish was the 2006 quarterfinals, where she lost to Clijsters.

The victory over Clijsters this week means Zvonareva will return to the top 20 in the world rankings.

She had been as high as No 5 but instead of progressing to challenge for Grand Slam titles, she was bothered by an ankle injury, nerves and a failure to close out matches.

"When you go through a lot of injuries in your career, it sort of puts a lot of doubts in your head," Zvonareva said. "You lose confidence."

Zvonareva and her doubles partner, Elena Vesnina, also defeated the two-time defending Wimbledon doubles champions and the top-ranked team in the world -- Venus Williams and Serena Williams -- in their quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday.

The 2010 Bank of the West Classic will feature a 30-player singles draw and 16-team doubles draw. The official tournament draw, and first round match-ups, will be announced on Saturday, July 24.

— Compiled from various news sources

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