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Vera ‘surprised’ by red-hot Coco

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Originally published on: 06/08/10 12:33

Ever heard of Coco Vandeweghe? Consider yourself worthy of a metaphorical gold star courtesy of tennishead if you find yourself nodding profusely at the screen.

Vera Zvonareva did some nodding of her own yesterday, but unfortunately for this year’s Wimbledon finalist, it was ‘nodding off’ that got her against 18-year-old Coco after she let slip a healthy one set advantage to lose 2-6 7-5 6-4 to the American teenager.

Currently ranked a lowly 200 in the world, the New York native had won just one competitive match on the WTA Tour until this week’s tournament in San Diego.

But after progressing to the second round of the Mercury Insurance Open without dropping a single game against Gisela Dulko – who retired injured at 3-0 down in the second set – Vandeweghe followed up with the biggest win of her career, and her first scalp of a top 10 player.

“I was pretty nervous in the first set, but then I got my feet going and started dictating,” said Vandeweghe, who competes for the Boston Lobsters in Billie Jean King’s coed World Team Tennis League.

“I love playing in front of a big crowd. It helps when they’re behind you. Coming from World Team Tennis, I’m used to the high energy. I’m used to more team sports and that raucous atmosphere.”

Competing in her first tournament since she lost to Serena Williams in her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon on July 4, Zvonareva was taken to three sets for the second time in as many matches after fighting back from losing the second set to defeat Dominika Cibulkova in the opening round in San Diego.

But despite again easing through the opening set, Zvonareva was guilty of complacency against the 2008 junior US Open champ.

“I was surprised by her,” said the Russian world No.9. “She decided to be a little more aggressive and go for her shots, and she served well. I tried different things but it seemed I was doing the same things over again. I’m disappointed how I played.”

With two-time Grand Slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova up next for Vandeweghe in her first WTA quarter-final, the 18-year-old was in high spirits after defeating a player ranked 191 places above her.

“It’s awesome to beat someone at that high of a level,” Vandeweghe enthused. “She’s been doing so well. Playing those top 10 players and being able to get a win was awesome.”

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