“I know how tough the match with Kvitova is going to be.” admits Vera Zvonareva.

Vera Zvonareva sealed her place in the Australian Open quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over unseeded Iveta Benesova. The Russian, a semi-finalist in 2009, edged a scrappy first set but was in cruise-control in the second to come through in one hour 16 minutes. Zvonareva will play Petra Kvitova for a last-four spot at Melbourne Park. Kvitova, the world number 25 who beat Sam Stosur in round three, fought back to see off Flavia Pennetta 3-6 6-3 6-3. The 20-year-old Czech struggled with her serve as she lost the first set but steadied her game to level the match. Pennetta, Italy’s 22nd seed, was broken to trail 4-2 in the decider as Kvitova piled on the pressure to eventually ease through on Hisense Arena.

Zvonareva, 26, was broken early in the first set by her Czech opponent and trailed 4-2 before recovering to win the next four games and take a close opening set. The second seed had few problems in the second and breezed through with 21 winners and four aces as she broke her opponent’s serve five times. “I was happy at the way I was able to come back when I was 4-2 down in the first set,” said the Russian, who is looking for her first Grand Slam trophy having come so close as runner-up at last-year’s Wimbledon and US Open. On facing Kvitova, a surprise semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year, Zvonareva added: “She’s had a great run here and beaten Sam Stosur and now Flavia so I know how tough that match is going to be.


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