Alison is in Budapest this week, a place where she has fond memories. Last year she was able to take the title. Ali at least managed to get her title defence well underway by beating Vera Zvonareva 7-5 7-5.
Alison saved a break point early on by hitting an ace and also withstood an attack from Zvonareva on the next point. With a drop shot, Ali lured Zvonareva to the net and could then surprise her with a forehand winner. This helped Alison seizing control. Leading by 4 games to 2, she had a firm grip on the match, until she was suddenly broken back and the set was tied at four. At 4-5, Alison upped her game again. A forehand error from her opponent got Alison back in front. She followed up a nice lob by coming to the net to get three set points. Zvonareva managed to reach Ali’s drop shot on the first set point but then Ali was able to score an easy forehand winner.
She kept pushing and enjoyed an early 2-0 lead in the second set. She did face a lot of pressure from Zvonareva’s returns and watched the match take another turn as the Russian won five straight games. Alison was able to do the same, as she kept dragging her opponent wide of the court. She saved a couple of set points and set up break point. A strong defense helped her to stay in the rally and several passing shots – third time was the charm – eventually forced the rebreak. A blistering forehand got Alison even in front and she sealed things with an ace out wide.