Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Vesnina, Kuznetsova in Unlikely All-Russian Indian Wells Final

Vesnina, Kuznetsova in Unlikely All-Russian Indian Wells Final

Russian Elena Vesnina powered into the Indian Wells WTA final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over in-form Kristina Mladenovic on Friday.

"This was the biggest final and today, it was big", Vesnina said.

On this day, only championship point could floor Vesnina.

Kuznetsova, a two-time runner-up at Indian Wells, edged third seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) in their semi-final.

Mladenovic, the 28th seed, continued an impressive run of form beating 13th seed and 2011 victor Wozniacki 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-2 to reach her first Premier Mandatory semi-final and guarantee her debut in the Top 20 in next week's WTA rankings.

The win marked the biggest title of Vesnina's career and she collapsed to the court with a mixture of ecstasy and exhaustion at the end. And now I won it.

"I guess I'm on fire", Vesnina said.

A year ago, Vesnina was ranked No. 86 when she fell in the Indian Wells qualifying.

Kuznetsova will get $573,680.

In the 10th game, Kuznetsova saved a set point when Vesnina wacked a forehand wide. "I was really focused on not giving him anything", Stan said.

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In men's singles, Jack Sock thinks Roger Federer is the best tennis player in history, but that does not mean the 18th-ranked American is discounting his chances against the Swiss great in the semi-finals.

Seventy-two minutes of suspense ended with a twist of the tape. The net-cord victor gave Kuznetsova a sweat-soaked one-set lead.

Nishikori had not dropped a set in the tournament until losing the first against Sock. Kuznetsova reeled off eight of the first nine points building a 2-0 lead.

"It was a very heartbreaking match", said the World No. 15 after the match.

Shrugging off a double fault, Kuznetsova clobbered an ace down the middle for 4-1. Kuznetsova has 17 WTA career titles to her name, and she will be looking to win her fourth Premier Mandatory title.

The Olympic gold medal double champion found a second win and increased depth reeling off six of the next seven games.

The German was erratic but Vesnina was too good and defeated Kerber, 6-3, 6-3.

Although Wawrinka been pushed to three sets in each of his past two matches, the 31-year-old has remained confident in his game and trusted his shot-making capabilities when faced with adversity against the likes of Yoshihito Nishioka and Dominic Thiem.

They traded breaks to start the decider. "She didn't really allow me to put my game on".

The pair exchange breaks again in the sixth and seventh games.

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