Top Zimbabwe female tennis player Black faces tough ride

21:32, May 11, 2010      

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Zimbabwe's Cara Black (R) talks with Russia's Vesnina Elena during the competition against China's Zheng Jie and Chinese Taipei's Chan Yung-jan during the first round of women's doubles of the Madrid WTA Open in Madrid, capital of Spain, May 9, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Haitong)

Top Zimbabwean female tennis player Cara Black is currently having a rough ride in the WTA Tour this year, The Herald reported on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old doubles specialist hasn't been having the best of good times in the tough world of professional tennis of late since she split up with her long-time partner Liezel Huber of the United States last month.

Huber late last month stunned the tennis world when she announced that her five-year "marriage" with Black was coming to an end, as they had agreed to go their separate ways by mutual consent.

And following the termination of their partnership after having played together on Tour for the first four months of the year, Black and Huber have competed with a set of different new partners in different tournaments overseas.

In fact, Zimbabwe's Black has been forced to play with two different partners on Tour since she parted ways with Huber and has been finding the going tough.

The end of last month first saw Black combining forces with Israel's Sahar Peer and the duo competed in a WTA Tour tournament in Stuttgart, Germany.

In Stuttgart, Black and Peer, who were seeded second, managed to fight all their way to the semi-finals where they lost to the top-seeded pair of Gisela Gulko and Flavia Penetta 7-5, 6-4.

They received US$4,700 for reaching the last four in Stuttgart. After playing in Stuttgart, Black found another doubles partner in Russia's Elena Vesnina and the two first played together at the Italian Open which ran from May 2 to 9 in Rome.

In the Italian Open, Black and Vesnina were seeded second and they received a first-round bye.

And in the second round, Black and Vesnina came up against Maria Kirilenko and Anastasia Pavlyuchenko of Russia and they were forced to retire through injury after having taken the first set 6-2. ' After their brief appearance at the Italian Open, Black and Vesnina packed their bags and flew to Spain for the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, which got underway at the weekend. And there was also no joy for Black and her Russian partner as they failed to jump the first hurdle in Madrid on Sunday where they lost to Chan Yung-Jan of Chinese Taipei and China's Zheng Jie.

According to reports from Madrid, fifth seeds Black and Vesnina were defeated 6-0, 7-6 by Chan and Jie, leaving the Zimbabwean still searching for her first title since she broke up with Huber last month.

In fact, before they split up, Black and Huber had managed to win two titles on the road this year in Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia, with both titles coming right at the beginning of the 2010 season in January.

They then went on to play together in five more other tournaments, including the Australian Open, where they fought all the way to the final before falling to the awesome Williams sisters - Serena and Venus - of the United States 6-4, 6-3.

Black and Huber played together for the last time towards the end of March in Miami, United States, where they were first round casualties, going to Abigail Spears and Natalie Grandin, who upset them 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

And it was after this defeat in Miami, that Huber dropped the bombshell, announcing on her blog on that she has decided to severe her relationship with Black.



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