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Serena beats Zvonareva for Charleston title

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Serena Williams recovered from a second-set lapse to win her third WTA title of the year by beating Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the Family Circle Cup final on Sunday.

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The fifth-seeded Williams fought back from an early break down in the third set to wrap up victory in one hour 50 minutes.

Williams, 26, broke the ninth-seeded Russian in the third game of the match on the green clay surface and held serve to take the first set when her opponent netted a forehand.

After surprisingly losing the second set as her frustrations mounted, Williams broke Zvonareva twice in the third set to clinch the 31st WTA title of her career.

“It was definitely an up-and-down final like most of my matches have been this week,” world number nine Williams said in a courtside television interview. “I hit a lot of errors today but I’m glad I was able to come through.

“I’m feeling really good,” added the American, who will rise to sixth in the world when the rankings are issued on Monday.

“I’m not even reaching my peak yet. I feel like I could do so much better. I think if I am healthy and I’m playing at my best, it’s hard to beat me.”


Williams, who had previously won titles in Bangalore and Miami this season, appeared to have the match firmly in control after claiming the opening set in 39 minutes.

Frustrated by in her inability to convert several break opportunities early in the second set, the muscular Williams failed to hold serve in the sixth game, double-faulting to trail 2-4.

World number 17 Zvonareva, taking advantage, served out to claim the set and level the match.

Williams was again broken in the third game of the final set but immediately broke back when the 23-year-old Russian hit a forehand wide for 2-2.

Regaining confidence, Williams broke Zvonareva in the eighth game and held serve to seal victory.

Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by John Mehaffey