BANGKOK Russian top seed Vera Zvonareva overcame a tough challenge from a battling Sania Mirza to win the Pattaya Open final 7-5 6-1 on Sunday.
The world number five was tested in a long first set packed with baseline tussles but showed her class in the second when she finished off the error-prone Indian with a stream of powerful groundstrokes.
"It was tough from the beginning. I was leading 5-2 and then she lifted up the level of her game," Zvonareva told reporters.
"I didn't play aggressively enough and made a few errors but I lifted my game from 5-5 and I didn't let her play the way she liked to.
"I was happy about the way I played to win the first set. In the second set I found my rhythm."
Mirza, ranked 126th in the world, had made her intentions clear from the outset, confidently blasting the ball into the corners and breaking Zvonareva in the third game.
The Russian, however, recovered to take a 5-2 lead before Mirza hauled herself back into the contest and drew level.
Zvonareva regained control in the scorching heat and sealed the first set after a double fault from a jittery Mirza.
Zvonareva, an Australian Open semi-finalist last month, carried the momentum into the second set, racing ahead of a flagging Mirza to win her first title of the year and eighth of her career.
Mirza was left to rue her mistakes.
"The first set could have gone either way, I had several chances to go up 6-5 but I didn't take them," Mirza said.
"She is number five in the world. She played great from then on. No excuses but I just wished I felt fresher.
Trending On Reuters
The world governing body for athletics (IAAF) on Tuesday dismissed media reports of widespread doping in the sport. Full Article