Svetlana Kuznetsova advances to semis at Indian Wells

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 16, 2017 at 7:02 AM
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In a battle of Russian players, eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over 19th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif.

Kuznetsova advances to a semifinal match against third-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who edged seventh-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) on Wednesday night.

At age 31, Kuznetsova is looking to reach the Indian Wells final for the first time since consecutive appearances in 2007 and 2008. She lost to Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in the former year and to Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in the latter.

Over the past eight years, Kuznetsova never got past the third round in the California desert, a drought she ended this week.

Kuznetsova won the 2009 French Open, but that was her most recent appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal. She lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.

She needed just 1 hour, 3 minutes to cruise past Pavlyuchenkova. Kuznetsova won 81 percent of her first-serve points and 74 percent of points on her serve overall. She also converted five of her six break points.

Pliskova served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Muguruza broke and eventually pushed the match to a second tiebreaker.

In a return-dominated match, each player broke serve five times. Muguruza was hurt by seven double faults.

"I think it was a very tough match, yesterday in press I said this was one of the toughest (opponents) I could have," Muguruza told WTA Insider. "I'm not disappointed at all -- I think it was just three points that made the difference, and these three points are for the ones that have more confidence.

"There were things I could do better, but I think it was details, honestly."

The BNP Paribas Open's other two women's quarterfinal matches are scheduled for Thursday. Denmark's Carolina Wozniacki, the 13th seed, faces 28th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France in the day's first match, while 12th-seeded American Venus Williams opposes 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia in a night match. Vesnina upset the tournament's second seed, Germany's Angelique Kerber, on Tuesday.

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