[CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR203] Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
You cannot underestimate the impact that one’s mental state has on their performance. Some players are able to overcome the negative effects of nerves a lot faster than others; while some struggle the entire match. Serena started off slowly, impeded by the weight of expectations and nervous tension. Serena was hampered to such an extent that she was barely moving and unable to execute her shots, resulting in too many unforced errors. It was not that Zvonareva was playing great; it was that Serena was playing poorly.
Serena can still on occasion overcome a bad start; however, the outcome would have been different with a fitter player or someone perhaps who had more confidence. We have seen her lose too often to such players, especially at the majors. Yet, she settled down nicely and played brilliantly in the second set, finding her rhythm and executing her shots. She came away with the victory 7-5, 6-0; however, she will have to get off to a better start if she wants to make it to the final.