sport

Moore battles in vain

British player Tara Moore suffered first round heartbreak at Wimbledon on Wednesday following a titanic battle with Vera Zvonareva.

The British number five served for the match twice in the final set, only to spurn both chances and allow former world No 2 and 2010 finalist Zvonareva a much-needed victory as the Russian bids to rebuild her injury-hit career.

Moore relinquished her winning position to slip out 6-4 6-7 (7-3) 9-7, unable to edge home in a match that spanned two days, having been halted at one set all due to bad light on Tuesday.

Wild card entrant Moore became the eighth Briton to fall at the first hurdle this year, unable to see off a player who has slipped to 566 in the WTA rankings.

"Vera played really well and was better than me in the crucial moments," said Moore.

"I was very nervous out there but the crowd was amazing."

Moore's slow start had handed Zvonareva the first-set initiative, before the British competitor won a pivotal tie-break before poor light stopped proceedings on Tuesday.

Doncaster-based Moore quickly found her stride on Wednesday's resumption however, the clash scheduled second on Court Two.

Zvonareva's ranking and form have plummeted ever since she was forced to withdraw from a match against Kim Clijsters at Wimbledon in 2012.

The breathing problem from that day also forced her US Open withdrawal later that year, before shoulder surgery put paid to any meaningful competition in 2013.

The former Wimbledon and US Open finalist is currently battling to rebuild her career, and duly accepted a wild card for this grand slam fortnight.

Moore wobbled when serving for the match at 5-4 ahead, gifting Zvonareva a break to level - but she immediately broke the Russian's serve to regain control.

Yet at the second time of asking Moore caught the jitters again, handing Zvonareva another break.

Zvonareva then held serve to heap the pressure on Moore's service game, but the Brit levelled to 7-7 with no trouble.

Experienced Russian Zvonareva then brought all her big-match nous to bear, to edge out Moore by claiming victory on her second match point.