Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

Evergreen Kuznetsova reaches final in Indian Wells for first time since 2008

Evergreen Kuznetsova reaches final in Indian Wells for first time since 2008

Elena Vesnina capped a stellar Indian Wells campaign with a hard-fought 6-7 (6/8), 7-5, 6-4 triumph over fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova on Sunday.

Vesnina then won four straight games to find herself serving for the set. She also trailed, 2-4, in the third set before she again reeled off four straight games.

Both players recorded three breaks of serve in a closely-fought contest, but it was the 2007 and 2008 runner-up who held her nerve to progress through to the final.

No. 15 Vesnina has won three doubles titles here at Indian Wells, though this will be the biggest stage she's played on in singles.

Vesnina, 30, was playing in her first final at a "Premier Mandatory" event - those at Indian Wells, Key Biscayne, Madrid and Beijing.

Arguably, the Russian's best performance to date was in the fourth round against two-time Grand Slam champion and soon-to-be world number one Angelique Kerber. She went on to lose the final five games and the match, making the 28th-seeded Mladenovic the lowest seed to reach the semis. 6-1 3-6 7-6.

"But she plays pretty flat, aggressive tennis", said Kuznetsova, who's ranked No. 8 in the world. "He was attacking really well, first and third sets".

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Vesnina had 38 unforced errors and eight double faults; Williams had 47 unforced errors and seven double faults. "It's great to know that I can try to play through what I'm going through and be very competitive".

Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is arguably playing the best tennis of her career in nearly a decade.

The physical and emotional strain of the draining first set took a toll on Vesnina in the second.

"Mladenovic is on fire, but so am I".

"I think it's a little bit of experience, a little bit of confidence, a little bit of thinking about what you want to do and then just do it without thinking if you're gonna miss or not", he said after Thursday's win over Thiem, per "So I need to be aggressive and I need to dominate the points because he's really unsafe with his forehand".

However, Sock will have to overcome a shaky past against Federer in order to prevent the 18-time Grand Slam champion from etching out a spot in the tournament finals. "I'm really happy the way I was playing, the way I found away to win it".

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