San Diego: American teenager Coco Vandeweghe produced a stunning fightback to defeat Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round of the San Diego Open on Thursday.
The 18-year-old Vandeweghe played a courageous and aggressive match, hammering away from inside the baseline and blowing overhead winners past her rattled opponent, who was clearly upset by the manner of her defeat.
"I just stopped playing and played stupid," said Zvonareva, who shed tears in her post match press conference.
"I was putting balls down the middle right into her hitting zone. I should have changed things. That`s not how a top player is supposed to play."
Vandeweghe moves on to face two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals after the Russian needed to call upon all her reserves to topple Italy`s Sara Errani 6-1, 6-7, 7-5.
In other matches, Slovakia`s Daniela Hantuchova crushed China`s Zheng Jie 6-2, 6-1 and will face Russian Alisa Kleybanova, while Italy`s Flavia Pennetta overcame Russia`s Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 7-6 and will play second seed Samantha Stosur of Australia.
However, the day belonged to qualifier Vandeweghe, who had her home area crowd roaring as the San Diego resident battled to victory over former top five player Zvonareva.
Vandeweghe had only won two WTA Tour level matches coming into the contest, one of them over Argentine Gisela Dulko in the first round, but she had won two minor circuit events in June and felt like she was peaking.
The tall daughter of a former Olympic swimmer, Vandeweghe moves well for her height and sports a big serve and heavy groundstrokes.
While she grew nervous when she attempted to close out the match at 5-2 in the third set, eventually, she was able to break the Russian and win the contest when she crushed an inside out forehand winner
"It`s pretty cool," the number 205 ranked Vandeweghe said. "Its awesome to beat someone at that high of a level. It`s exciting to play one of those top 10 players and get a win off of them."
Kuznetsova was not overly impressed with her erratic play after squandering a match point and 5-1 lead in the third set against the scrappy Errani, but she closed the match out convincingly once she knuckled down.
"There`s a saying in Russian, `What ends good is good`," Kuznetsova said.
"I need matches like this because I won and I was fighting and it was really hard. I said, `Okay, it`s enough. You had too many chances and you have to go for it.` I did the right thing in the end, even though it took me a long time."