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WILLIAMS' FINAL FOE INTENSE UNDER THE TOWEL

WIMBLEDON, England - For the women's final at Wimbledon, Serena will be the serene one.

On one side today, there will be top-seeded Serena Williams, wearing a strawberry and cream dress befitting the occasion, and hoping to celebrate her 13th Grand Slam title with the same dainty curtsy she showed the queen of England last week.

On the other side will be 21st-seeded Vera Zvonareva, a towel draped over her head during changeovers as if hiding from her reputation for crying jags, temper tantrums and collapses.

Williams has been known for the occasional outburst. But her meltdown at the 2009 U.S. Open is a fading memory, and her comportment and tennis have been impeccable at this event.

Zvonareva has yet to be seen losing her cool, either, but who knows what goes on under that towel? She uses it for refuge during changeovers to help her concentrate, and the result has been an improbable run to her first Grand Slam final.

Long regarded as an underachiever prone to self-destruction, Zvonareva beat former No. 1s Kim Clijsters and Jelena Jankovic en route to this final. She also teamed with Elena Vesnina to beat the top-ranked Williams sisters in doubles. In her past two singles victories, Zvonareva rallied from a set down.

"With experience and maturity, I learn a lot about myself, and I know where I have to pump myself up and where I have to calm myself down," Zvonareva said. "But emotions, I think they're good. They should be there. ... It shows that you care."

Zvonareva had been known to sob on court even when she's winning, and she has mangled more than a few rackets in anger.

"She was so emotional and would get down on herself," player Lindsay Davenport said. "Now she seems like one of the most composed players on the WTA Tour."

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Women's final

Top-seeded Serena Williams, left, and Russian Vera Zvonareva will play for the Wimbledon women's title today. How they match up in singles play:

WILLIAMS..................VS. ....................ZVONAREVA

28.............................Age...........................25

5-9...........................Height ........................5-8

5........................Head-to-head wins............1

24-4......................2010 record...................27-10

1...........................2010 titles.....................1

36.........................Career titles..................10

473-101................Career record................375-180

12......................Grand Slam titles..............0

3........................Wimbledon titles...............0

80....................2010 Wimbledon aces.........23

HOW THEY GOT TO THE FINAL

Serena Williams: d. Michelle Larcher De Brito 6-0, 6-4; d. Anna Chakvetadze 6-0, 6-1; d. Dominika Cibulkova 6-0, 7-5; d. Maria Sharapova 7-6 (11-9), 6-4; d. Na Li 7-5, 6-3; d. Petra Kvitkova 7-6 (7-5), 6-2

Vera Zvonareva: d. Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-4, 6-1; d. Andrea Hlavackova 6-1, 6-4; d. Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-2; d. Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 3-0 (ret.); d. Kim Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; d. Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-2

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