*Serena Williams’ comeback run at Eastbourne ended today in the second round with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 loss to top-seeded Vera Zvonareva.
According to the AP, Zvonareva came through a tense match in 3 hours, 12 minutes for only her second win in eight matches against the 13-time Grand Slam champion.
“I know I can do better,” Williams said. “I can improve and I’m so close to being there, it’s good.”
The No. 3-ranked Russian avenged her 6-3, 6-2 loss in the 2010 Wimbledon final, which turned out to be Williams’ last match for almost a year. Williams won her fourth title at the All England Club, but stepped on broken glass at a restaurant in July and needed two foot surgeries. She later developed blood clots on her lungs.
Williams showed her trademark tenacity in the third set, coming back from 5-2 down to make it 5-5, saving three match points at 5-4. But Zvonareva immediately broke again and a tiring Williams couldn’t muster another rally.
Williams lost on grass for the first time since dropping the 2008 Wimbledon final to her sister Venus. Today, Serena was awarded a Wimbledon seeding of No. 7, which is 19 places above her ranking.
Despite the loss, Williams is pleased with her preparations for the defense of her title — and even happier that the foot injury is no longer troubling her.
“It was a good two matches for me,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with the amount of tennis I played so it’s good, just keep going.
“I haven’t played in almost a year, so I’m a little sore. But it’s good that I’m sore now because hopefully next week I won’t be as sore. (The foot) is holding up really well, and I’m just really excited about that.”
Venus Williams, meanwhile, is returning from a five-month layoff because of a hip injury, and she reached the quarterfinals with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win today over Ana Ivanovic.
Venus will face Daniela Hantuchova, who stopped French Open winner Li Na 7-6 (7), 6-3. Li held five set points in the tiebreaker and led 3-1 in the second set before losing the last five games.