Serena wary of returning Zvonareva
Originally published on 21/01/15
Top seed and five-time champion Serena Williams is the favourite to beat Vera Zvonareva, a two-time Grand Slam finalist and former world No.2.
The Russian is on the comeback trail from a serious shoulder injury. She missed the second half of 2012 and the whole of 2013 and played just eight matches last year. She has beaten Williams twice in nine attempts, most recently on the grass at Eastbourne in 2011.
Her last match before being sidelined was a 6-1 6-0 defeat to Williams in the third round at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But despite her superior record against Zvonareva, and the Russian’s lowly ranking, the top seed believes it will not be an easy match.
“To meet such a high-ranked player in the second round is not going to be easy for me,” said Williams. “It's going to be tough. She does so many things well. She's on the way back. I know she's been fighting and playing really hard. I have to be ready. I have to come out of the gates ready to go and be the best I can be.”
Williams, who sailed into the second round with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Belgian Alison van Uytvanck, says she is more nervous before the first round at a major than before a final.
“Usually when you get to a final, you want to win,” she said. “I just want to do the best I can. I think it's different because at least when you're in a final, you have a little momentum. When you're in a first round, you don't have momentum. Usually the nerves aren't as bad in general for me in a final.
“As always, I had the jitters going out in the first match of a Grand Slam. It’s never super easy to be the one that everyone wants to beat. So I always have to be a little bit above. I just focus on holding serve in general, and I focus on breaking.”
Order of Play: Wednesday 21 January
Rod Laver Arena
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Serena Williams (USA) v Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS)
Benjamin Becker (GER) v Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
Margaret Court Arena
Lauren Davis (USA) v Venus Williams (USA)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Marius Copil (ROU)(Q)
Madison Keys (USA) v Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Donald Young (USA) v Milos Raonic (CAN)