Zvonareva through as Lisicki wilts with win in sight

Updated: 2011-05-26 11:07


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Zvonareva through as Lisicki wilts with win in sight

Vera Zvonareva of Russia (L) comforts Sabine Lisicki of Germany after winning during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, May 25, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

* Lisicki carried off on stretcher in floods of tears

PARIS - Vera Zvonareva was fortunate to progress to the French Open third round with a 4-6 7-5 7-5 victory after German Sabine Lisicki needed a medical time out and then crumbled with victory almost in her grasp on Wednesday.

Lisicki was in floods of tears at the end, prostrate on the ground, and had to be carried off on a stretcher after her bizarre and rapid deterioration in health.

"I got a little bit lucky," the third seeded Russian told reporters. "I heard she's feeling okay now. I think she is still seeing the doctor, I don't know, maybe it's cramping."

Zvonareva, who reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year, struggled to find any sort of rhythm in front of a half-empty Court One and looked almost certain to become the highest seed to fall so far this year in either draw.

Never comfortable on clay, the Russian was two points from being eliminated in the second set but clawed her way back only to slip 5-2 down in the third as the evening wore on.

Qualifier Lisicki then fired a forehand return long on matchpoint before being visited by a doctor on court and having her blood pressure checked during a long break, despite no obvious signs of illness or injury beforehand.

She tearfully tried to soldier on, flexing her leg muscles but also looking dizzy, and Zvonareva sealed a lucky win.

"I didn't have much in my mind. I was just thinking about how to win the next point," the Russian added. "That's what happens sometimes. It's part of the sport. No matter what, I had to keep doing my job."

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