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Serena Williams Loses to Zvonareva, Venus Wins in Eastbourne

Defending Wimbledon champion Serena Williams lost in three sets to second-ranked Vera Zvonareva in a grass-court warmup match in Eastbourne, where her sister Venus won.

Williams lost to the Russian, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 in a second-round match at the Aegon International grass-court tournament on England’s south coast. Wimbledon starts June 20.

“It was definitely a tough match,” Zvonareva, who lost to Williams in last year’s Wimbledon final, said in a court-side interview. “She’s done an unbelievable job coming back after a year of not playing.”

Williams until this week hadn’t played a professional match since she won her fourth title at the All England Club in July. The American, who’s recovered from a foot injury and treatment for blood clots in her lungs, had been leading 5-3 in the second set.

Earlier today, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams extended her tennis comeback with a second straight win, beating former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, 6-3, 6-2. She’ll play the winner of the match between French Open champion Li Na from China and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the next round.

“It’s been tough,” Venus Williams, who had been sidelined with a hip injury for five months before this week, said in a court-side interview. “My form seems to be better with every game.”

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