Zvonareva closes on Dalian glory

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Vera Zvonareva will play her first WTA Tour final in six years after proving too good for Vitalia Diatchenko in the last four of the Dalian Women's Open.

Former world number two Zvonareva spent two years away from the court, during which time she had a baby and healed past injuries, before returning in New Haven last month.

The Russian is now just one match away from a 13th career title after earning a 6-4 6-2 victory over her 250th-ranked compatriot.

There were five breaks of serve in a back-and-forth opening set, but the second was decidedly more one-sided as Diatchenko struggled to hold.

Awaiting Zvonareva in the final is fifth seed Kateryna Kozlova, who defeated Zarina Diyas 6-4 7-5.