Russia’s Elena Vesnina entered into WTA Indian Wells final

Elena Vesnina
Russia's Elena Vesnina's sparkling Indian Wells battle continued Friday as she entered into the final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over rising French star Kristina Mladenovic.

New York, March 18: Russia’s Elena Vesnina’s sparkling Indian Wells battle continued Friday as she entered into the final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over rising French star Kristina Mladenovic.

Elena Vesnina, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year who has reached her career high of 15th in the world at the age of 30, had toppled Germany’s soon-to-be world number one Angelique Kerber in the 4th round and 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.

Elena Vesnina face either 3rd-seeded Czech tennis player Karolina Pliskova or 8th-seeded Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova on the final on Sunday.

Elena Vesnina said that “(It’s) not every day you have nights like that when you’re in the semi-final of such a prestigious event and fighting for the final”.

She said that important doubles Victories- including a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics — had helped her big-match self-possession.

“It’s not easy to hold your nerve. But I’m really happy the way I handled it. I was very focused. I was not thinking about the final. I was just thinking particularly about every single game that I play and every single shot that I serve.”

Elena Vesnina lost in the first round of qualifying on the 2016 Indian Wells.

Elena Vesnina built commanding leads in each set — 5-0 in the first and 5-1 in the second — and Mladenovic, who claimed a maiden Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title in St. Petersburg last month before reaching the final in Acapulco, couldn’t find an answer no matter how she tried.

“I really think she was just too good for me today,” said Mladenovic, who went to her slice to no avail before attempting an aggressive serve and volley game late in each set in an bid to regain ground.

“I felt like I had to do kind of crazy points to win,” Mladenovic said. “She didn’t really allow me to put my game on tonight.”

Down a set and three service breaks at 5-1 in the second set, Mladenovic won three straight games — fending off one match point — before Vesnina held serve for the victory.

“Kiki was always trying to play her best tennis when she was behind on the score,” Vesnina said. “It’s not easy to come back from 5-0 and 5-1. It’s not easy at all.”

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