Wimbledon - Zvonareva reaches maiden final
Russian 21st seed Vera Zvonareva booked a place in her first Grand Slam final, recovering from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 6-3 6-2 at Wimbledon.
Zvonareva will face defending champion and world number one Serena Williams in the final on Saturday.
Zvonareva, who also came back from a set down to beat eighth seed Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals, looked tight with nerves for the opening 45 minutes of the clash on Centre Court.
But the longer the match went on the more the Russian relaxed, and she sealed victory with an inside out forehand into the corner of the court after one hour and 16 minutes.
"I'm very excited, I'm not realising it at the moment," the 25-year-old said in a courtside interview.
"It was very tough out there, she's a tough opponent and I'm happy with the way I hung in the match and was able to turn it around.
"It's one of my dreams to be out there (in the final)."
Pironkova made the better start to the match, racing through her opening service holds with ease while worrying Zvonareva with some punishing ground-strokes on the Russian's service games.
And with the momentum very much behind her it was Pironkova who grabbed the first break of the match, catching the top of the tape with a forehand return of serve and seeing the ball trickle over the net for a winner in the sixth game.
The 22-year-old went confidently on to serve out the set three games later, sealing it with a series of solid backhands that eventually drew the error from Zvonareva.
The second set began in much the same vein but the Russian, who was the overwhelming favourite to reach the final, began to gain in confidence as the match went on and held with increasing ease.
Zvonareva, who had been ranked as high as five in the world before an ankle injury ruined her 2009 season, went on to break in the sixth game with a backhand winner down the line after a series of vicious ground-strokes pushed Pironkova out of position.
The Russian then went on to serve out the set three games later with the top of the net helping her produce the perfect forehand drop shot.
After levelling the match Zvonareva was very much in control and immediately broke for the first game of the decisive third set when Pironkova sent a backhand long after a lengthy rally.
The Russian had further break points in the third game of the set before grabbing the double break in the fifth, flashing a double handed backhand across court to beat Pironkova for pace.
Zvonareva did have a minor wobble in the sixth game of the final set as she sent consecutive forehands long to hand Pironkova two break back points.
But the 21st seed saved them both before going on to hold, and then served out the match two games later to book her place in the final.