Vesnina, Kuznetsova in Unlikely All-Russian Indian Wells Final
by Staff | March 18th, 2017, 1:08 am
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No. 8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 14 seed Elena Vesnina will battle for the 2017 BNP Paribas Open title in an all-Russian final at Indian Wells, Calif., after each advanced to the championship match on Friday.
Vesnina reached her first-ever Premier-level final after defeating France’s No. 28 seed Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4.

“This was the biggest final and today, it was big,” Vesnina said. “It was electric, to be honest. I felt the atmosphere. It was a very important match for me.”

Vesnina jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, and ran out to a 5-2 lead in the second set before putting the match away.

“I think, my first feeling right now is I think she played a great match,” Mladenovic said. “I felt like she was playing very fast, very aggressive. Actually, I didn’t feel that bad out there on the court.”

Vesnina in the final will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova, who in her semifinal upset No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6(5), 7-6(2).

“I felt great. I felt like I was just giving all I had in me there, and that’s what I work for, you know, the moments that really matter. I just feel great because I have been fighting for every ball,” Kuznetsova said.

“If she managed to win one of the sets and then we go for third, I would still be fighting and still playing every ball. If she manages to win me, I would say great job. But it doesn’t change my attempt in the match.”

It’s the third time Kuznetsova has made the Indian Wells final having finished runner-up in 2007 to Daniela Hantuchova and 2008 to Ana Ivanovic.

Kuznetsova and Vesnina are 1-1 in career meetings, with Kuznetsova winning their most recent meeting in 2014.

It’s just the second-ever all-Russian final at Indian Wells after 2006 when Maria Sharapova beat Elena Dementieva.

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