Zvonareva blames foot injury for early exit

LONDON Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:22pm EDT

Vera Zvonareva of Russia looks at her shoe during her match against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Vera Zvonareva of Russia looks at her shoe during her match against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - Second seed Vera Zvonareva slipped out of Wimbledon with a whimper on Friday as Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova turned the tables on the moody Russian with a 6-2 6-3 win.

Zvonareva was a shadow of the player who beat Pironkova in last year's semi-finals, blaming a foot injury for a defeat that hardly sent shockwaves around the All England Club.

"It was tough for me today, I injured my foot and I think I was focusing a little too much on that instead of trying to find my game," a downhearted Zvonareva told Reuters as she twiddled with her player's accreditation pass.

"I started rushing and trying to hit too hard. I was trying to be too aggressive because I was worried about my movement and maybe injuring myself more.

"It's a tough decision because I came here to win the tournament.

"But I was a bit stupid to carry on. Especially as I was so worried about my foot rather than trying to find a way to win. But, you know, this is Wimbledon."

Zvonareva has enjoyed a consistent run in the grand slams, reaching consecutive finals last year at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and making the semis at this year's Australian Open before falling in the last 16 at the French.

She also beat Wimbledon champion Serena Williams at Eastbourne last week in the American's first tournament back from 11 months out injured.

However, nothing much went right against Pironkova as she dropped her serve four times on Court Two during a one hour 17 minute defeat.

"The match went too fast but if you can't play 100 percent it's difficult against a good player like her," added Zvonareva who confirmed she had pulled out of the women's doubles with fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Pironkova may be feeling a growing sense of deja vu as she next plays five-times champion Venus Williams who she stunned in last year's quarter-finals.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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