Reporting from Wimbledon, England — Serena Williams doesn't engage in avoidance on the tennis court. She looks her opponents in the eye before she pounds one of her massive serves or aims a forehand at the person across the net. She shakes a fist after a big winner and during changeovers, Williams watches everything.
Vera Zvonareva is the opposite. She bows her head after hitting winners. She mutters into the ground if she misses a shot, and during changeovers Zvonareva buries her head in a towel as if she doesn't want to see what might happen next.
On Saturday, the 21st-seeded Zvonareva has the chance to step forward against the world's No. 1 player in the Wimbledon ladies' final.
So far, hiding behind the towel has not kept the 25-year-old Russian from already achieving her finest Grand Slam moment.
"Tennis is an emotional sport," Zvonareva said. "If you don't have any emotions, you will never be able to win. I think with experience and maturity I have learned a lot about myself and I know where I have to pump myself up and where I have to calm myself down."
At last year's U.S. Open, during a night match, Zvonareva had a momentous meltdown where she cried, cursed, tried to rip tape off her knees and even asked a chair umpire for scissors. Her request was denied and she lost six match points and the match.
"But emotions, I think they are good," said Zvonareva. "They should be there."
Williams exhibited her own emotions at that Open last September, losing her temper after a critical foot fault call in the semifinals. Her threats to a lineswoman cost Williams $92,500 in fines. Since then, Williams has won the Australian Open and is now in her 16th Grand Slam final.
Zvonareva did not arrive at Wimbledon on a hot streak. She had lost five of her last seven matches. Once ranked No. 5 in the world (in 2009, after she won the tournament at Indian Wells), she is now ranked No. 21.
Williams seemed unconcerned about Saturday's final. She said she would spend Friday night watching "Desperate Housewives" on television and resting her serving shoulder.
She has served 80 aces so far in the tournament, already topping the previous record, her own, of 72, set last year.
Doubles are good, too
Vania King, 21, of Long Beach, Calif., advanced to the women's doubles finals with her partner, Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazhakstan. King and Shvedova beat fifth-seeded Americans Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-4. The unseeded King and Shvedova will play Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina on Saturday for the championship.
King said doubles comes easily to her.
"I see the court well. Winning here would be a dream come true," she said.