Elena Vesnina tops Svetlana Kuznetsova in all-Russian final at Indian Wells

By The Sports Xchange   |   March 20, 2017 at 12:20 AM
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Elena Vesnina completed her impressive tournament performance with a 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in an all-Russian final to win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif., on Sunday.

The 14th-seeded Vesnina upset second-seeded Angelique Kerber and 12th-seeded Venus Williams before culminating her six-match run with the marathon win over the eighth-seeded Kuznetsova.

It took the 30-year-old Vesnina 3 hours, 1 minute to finish off the match, which ended when Kuznetsova hit long on a return.

"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. I'm so happy."

After the 4-1 deficit, Vesnina won the next four games and six of seven to even the match at a set apiece. She then fought back from a 4-2 deficit in the third set to claim her third career WTA title.

"I was playing a bit more free when I was down in the score," said Vesnina, "and I think Svetlana got a bit tight on some moments and I saw that and I just took my chances."

Vesnina hit 46 winners and overcame 49 unforced errors.

The victory will propel Vesnina to a career-best 13th in the world rankings. Her previous high ranking was 15th earlier this year.

This is the third time the 31-year-old Kuznetsova has been the runner-up at Indian Wells. She also lost in the finals in 2007 and 2008.

"I gotta be positive," Kuznetsova said after the match. "I made finals here, and that's great. I lost a match which I should have won, but this is tennis. Nobody died, so I move on, and I'm on a good (run). I'm playing better. I'm winning lots of matches in a good way, in two sets. I'm really positive.

"Definitely I'm really frustrated with that loss, but I will go above that, hopefully, and it will be all right."

Kuznetsova recorded nine service aces.

Vesnina has prevailed in two of her three career meetings against Kuznetsova.

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