Zvonareva survives serve demons to advance to 4th round

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number two Vera Zvonareva nervously threw away three service breaks but finally closed out a 6-3 7-6 victory over Lucie Safarova to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open Saturday.

Zvonareva broke early in each set and was cruising to victory at 4-2 in the second, but double-faulted to allow 31 seed Safarova to break back to 4-4 at a sun-drenched Rod Laver Arena.

The Russian wobbled twice more when serving for the match to allow Safarova into a tiebreaker, much to the delight of the Czech 23-year-old's boyfriend and Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych watching from the stand.

Safarova saved two match points but conceded the third after Zvonareva deftly lobbed her to close out a pulsating tiebreak 11-9.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)