Vesnina outlasts Kuznetsova in marathon Indian Wells final
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[March 20, 2017]
(Reuters) - Elena Vesnina
survived a battle of attrition and nerves to beat fellow Russian
Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Open final on
Sunday and secure the biggest title of her career.
After more than three hours in the scorching midday sun on the
Indian Wells hard court, Vesnina finally clinched victory on her
second championship point when eighth seed Kuznetsova sent a service
The win marked by far the biggest title of Vesnina's career and will
boost the 30-year-old to 13th in the world rankings, surpassing her
current career-high of 15th reached last month.
Vesnina stared defeat in the face, down 4-1 in the second set before
reeling off four consecutive games after starting to play more
aggressive in an effort to keep the points short and conserve
"I was playing a bit more free when I was down in the score and I
think Svetlana got a bit tight on some moment and I saw that and I
just took my chances," Vesnina, whose previous WTA titles came at
Eastbourne and Hobart in 2013, said in a courtside interview.
"I was trying to get rest. My dad (and coach Sergey) said 'come to
the net, put pressure on her' and it worked."
The 14th seed collapsed to the court with a mixture of ecstasy and
exhaustion after the final point, before the combatants hugged at
Neither player served particularly well. There were 16 breaks in the
34 games and Vesnina dropped serve seven times, but that was better
than her opponent, and proved to be the difference.
[to top of second column]
Elena Vesnina (RUS) celebrates at match point as she defeated
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) in her semi final match at the BNP Paribas
Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne
Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
For Kuznetsova, who was making her third appearance in the Indian
Wells final and first since 2008, the result will leave a bitter
taste as she was seeking to shed her reputation as player who
struggles to close the deal in big matches.
Vesnina, on the other hand, was overjoyed.
"I cannot believe to be honest, to win such a big title against such
a great player," Vesnina said.
"I was down a set and 4-1. It seems like it was so far away this
title, and now I won it Iím so happy."
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank
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