Champion with 5 trophies from Russia took Miami
If you stopped following the Miami courts after Daniil Medvedev’s quarterfinal exit from Pole Hubert Hurkacz, you were very wrong. But the Russian player Vera Zvonaryova and the German Laura Zygemund beat Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.
Another cummel of the three-time US Open champion after the seventh operation
Cumback in the best traditions of Rafa Nadal: when no one bets on you in the tournament, and you’re like a mockery of the quotes. You can already lose count of how much of a comeback the Russian is. After another – already the seventh – operation the ex-second racket of the world is back on the court. Not only that, she is taking the Cup of a thousand. Although Zvonaryova had a cast on her right leg and crutches in her hands only six months ago: She was still taking selfies from the hospital in September 2021.
It was for the same reason Vera missed the Olympic Games – 2020 – a problem with her leg. But like in a very heartwarming Oscar-winning movie about overcoming, she immediately took another trophy: her third in a pair of TBS and her second in America (then she won three small titles, all with different partners). To win her first major with the 2012 Australian Open, Zvonareva paired with German Zygemund for the first time.
On their way to the title, they defeated three seeded pairs, including last year’s champions Arina Sobolenko and Elise Mertens and top singles champions Vika Azarenka and Sofia Kenin. Zvonaryova became a two-time US Open champion 14 years after her first win in America with Natalie Desha. But then the pair went on a long break – all the same surgery on Vera. Influenced by the temporary break and the new status of the champion: Vera became a wife and mother.
At the beginning of March 2022 they found each other again. And immediately snagged a tournament in Lyon. In Indian Wells the Russian-German tandem crashed out in the 1/8 finals, and in Miami the girls reached the decisive match. In the semifinals they were stronger than Ekaterina Alexandrova and Zhaoxuan Yang, with a 4-9 lead in the championship tie-break. And Kudermetova and Mertens dealt with Corey Gauff and Katie McNally 6-4, 3-6, 10-2 in less spectacular fashion.
Sunday’s final in Miami made the experience. Kudermetova’s right cross and Mertens’ play at the net gave them just the starting margin of victory. Then a camback was sure to follow: the draws became longer and longer, and the one who had less tolerance for unnecessary mistakes amid fatigue – after all, the girls had played in Miami and singles before the finals. A pair of oblique firsts from Vera and a sharp reception under Laura’s backhand secured them a set. They followed the same scenario in the second game, where Zvonaryova and Siegemund managed to break in a tense ending.
In addition to the traditionally strong play in duets, Vera is also gaining confidence in singles: In Miami she stepped out of qualification and then went three more rounds. Moreover, in the 1/32 finals the Russian player defeated the 19th seeded Tamara Zidansek.