Elena overcomes Venus
INDIAN WELLS: Elena Vesnina denied Venus Williams another great escape, beating the seventime Grand Slam champion 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells.
As Venus shook off a lethargic start and began to apply some pressure, Elena kept her poise, finishing off the contest on her fourth match point after fending off six break points in the final game.
She’ll play Kristina Mladenovic for a place in the final after the French player’s 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory over former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
“When I was up three-love in the first set she was missing some easy shots,” Elena said of Venus. “She looked tired and slow on the court. Then, all of a sudden, she started moving around, hitting great shots, winners from all over the place.
“I kind of lost my rhythm, because I didn’t know what to expect.” After the match Venus acknowledged some physical “issues” that had troubled her throughout the tournament, although she declined to elaborate.
“I had some issues,” said the American, who played on Thursday with one thigh bandaged, but without the right arm bandage she sported in previous rounds.
“It’s great to know that I can try to play through what I’m going through and be very competitive,” she said. “I will try my best to be closer to 100 per cent in the next tournament.”
Elena, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, reached the semifinals of an elite Premier Mandatory level tournament for the first time, as did the in-form Kristina — whose season so far has included a first career title in St. Petersburg and a runner-up finish in Acapulco this month.
“I went for my game,” Kristina said. “I went for some variation. I think I played differently at some points, trying to use more the court to make her run, as well, because she was doing that pretty well to me.
“Something new I put today was the serve and volley on such important points. I impressed myself with that!” AFP