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Vera Zvonareva hangs on to advance at Mercury Insurance Open

August 2, 2011 | 10:12 pm

Vera Zvonareva at Mercury Insurance Open
Top-seeded Vera Zvonareva was pushed to the limits by 37-year-old American Jill Craybas in a nearly two-hour marathon match Tuesday night at the Mercury Insurance Open.

Zvonareva got a late break in both sets to put away Craybas 6-4, 7-5 in a contest that saw lots of advantage points and closely contested games.

Zvonareva appeared to be on the edge of breaking Craybas in just about every one of the American’s service games. But Zvonareva finally managed to capitalize on two Craybas double faults to break at 5-4 in the first set.

It took her longer to break Craybas in the second set, when she used a big forehand winner to set up double break point in the eleventh game. She converted the break two points later and then quickly served out the match.

"I don't expect myself to play my best tennis in the first round of the tournament," Zvonareva said afterward. "It's never easy to play the first match, but I'm just happy I won this one and won in two sets."


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Tennis event at La Costa loses several marquee players

-- Matt Stevens

Photo: Vera Zvonareva returns a shot during her victory over Jill Craybas at the Mercury Insurance Open on Tuesday. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images