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Zvonareva to take on Mirza in Pattaya final

TOP seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia and India's unseeded Sania Mirza advanced to the final of the Pattaya Open in contrasting styles yesterday.

Zvonareva raced through her semifinal against seventh-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel to win 6-1, 6-4 in just 61 minutes.

The Russian has now beaten Peer, the 2006 Pattaya champion, in all of their five matches.

Mirza had a tougher time but overcame a blown opportunity for a straight sets victory to beat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in her semifinal at the Thai resort.

"I missed a couple of easy points and lost the second set. It happened," said Mirza, who was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set but faltered. The eighth-seeded Slovak fired shots to Mirza's weak backhand and won the set when the Indian returned a backhand long.

Ranked 126th in the world as she works her way back from last year's long-term wrist injuries, the former world No. 27 Mirza raced through the third set to reach her first final since Stanford in 2007. Her only WTA-level singles title came at Hyderabad, India, in 2005.

"I'm not going to think about who I'm playing" in the final, Mirza said. "I just want to play my game."

Zvonareva, the world No. 5, holds seven WTA career titles and reached the Australian Open semifinal last month.

Mirza won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi.

Zvonareva and Mirza have only clashed once before, with Mirza winning in three sets on hardcourt at the 2005 Japan Open.

In Paris, world No. 1 Serena Williams pulled out of the Open GDF Suez before her semifinal against Russian Elena Dementieva due to injury yesterday.

"I did not feel well during the warm-up this morning, my knee hurt," the Australian Open champion said in a courtside interview. "I am extremely disappointed. I love playing in Paris and I hope I will come back."

The injury would have come as a big blow for Williams as she had been in impressive form in the French capital, where she won the tournament in 1999 and 2003.

Olympic champion Dementieva will meet either France's Amelie Mauresmo or second seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in today's final.


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