Many media outlets have called this year’s US Open the comeback of Sloane Stephens. She was ranked just 957 in the world a mere 6 weeks ago, and since then she reached back to back semi-finals at the Premier 5 events in Toronto and Cincinnati, she then went on to win her first maiden slam title at Flushing Meadows. Now, credit is due to Sloane, however there is another player that is worthy of the global recognition of their recent performance and hopefully The Tennis Tribune can be that platform for the Russian Vera Zvonareva.
While Vera may be most known for her frequent meltdowns on court, which often resulted in the destruction of her tennis rackets and her towels been soaked in tears, she was a ferocious competitor who ultimately reached a career high ranking of number 2, was a former grand slam finalist at Wimbledon and US Open in 2010 and a bronze medallist at the 2008 Olympics. Since reaching the top of her game, Vera has been plagued with injuries, and went on a career hiatus in 2015.
While many former top players commence their comeback on the WTA Tour, Vera chose to grind it out at the ITF Level, to see if her passion was still as strong as before. Vera went on to win the $15,000 tournament in Sharm el Sheikh. A few weeks later, Vera entered the qualifying draw for the US Open, where she was beaten in the second round of qualifying in a tight three setter. While the second week of the US Open was underway, Vera was competing in Dalian on the WTA Tour, which offers the winner $20,000 and 160 ranking points. Vera won 4 matches before being upset in the final. As a result of her recent performance, Vera obtained 115 ranking points, raising her world ranking from outside the top 600 to just outside the top 300 at 304.
Vera’s next tournament as of yet is unconfirmed, but one shouldn’t rule out an appearance on the week commencing September 18 in Guangzhou, a tournament that will resonate with Vera, as she lifted the trophy there in 2008. Let’s hope her fine form continues for the rest of the season!