Vera Zvonareva wore a black ribbon on her visor to recognize the victims of the Domodedovo International Airport bombing. (AP)
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Moscow is almost 9,000 miles away from here, but not far from Vera Zvonareva’s thoughts. During her 6-2, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over Petra Kvitova on Tuesday, the top-ranked Russian wore a black ribbon on her visor to recognize the suicide bombing in her native city’s busiest airport the previous day. “It is my condolences and support to everyone suffering back home,” Zvonareva said, explaining her tribute.
At least 35 people were killed and 180 wounded in the blast at Domodedovo Airport. She wasn’t the only Russian pro reflecting on the disaster. Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was born in St. Petersburg, tweeted that she was “in shock” and had “no words to say what I feel.” She slammed the bombing, which took place in the airport’s arrival hall, a “a pathetic thing.”
Zvonareva said the news of the attack brought an added measure of anxiety to her match preparation on Monday, which included two practices -- one outdoor, one inside. “It was difficult,” she said. You’re here in Australia and you have your match coming. You just try to think about that. Definitely there was a moment where I felt a bit uncomfortable. You're calling back home and making sure everyone is OK, the people that you know. You know, I just tried to put it away. It happened. It is terrible. But, you know, you try to move on.” In terms of the draw, she is. On Wednesday she will face Kim Clijsters, who scored a 6-3, 7-6 triumph in the day’s second quarterfinal over Agnieszka Radwanska. Zvonareva has been the victor in half of her six meetings against Clijsters, the lone major winner remaining in the draw. In their last meeting at a Grand Slam, the 2010 U.S. Open Final, Zvonareva fell 6-2, 6-1 to Clijsters in less than an hour’s time. Still, she is taking a measure of comfort in the fact that all three of her career victories against Clijsters came in ’10. “I definitely will try to take positives from those matches,” Zvonareva said.