Russians Svetlana, Elena to cross swords in final
INDIAN WELLS: Svetlana Kuznetsova toppled World No 3 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/2) on Friday to book an allRussian Indian Wells final against Elena Vesnina.
Elena powered past France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4, continuing a sparkling campaign that has seen her shock German’s soon-to-be World No 1 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.
It’s a sharp turnaround from Elena’s first-round ouster in qualifying here last year, and marks her first trip to a final of one of the WTA’s elite Premier Mandatory events.
World No 8 Svetlana is back in the Indian Wells final for the first time since back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008.
She withstood 10 aces from Karolina, who has already won titles at Brisbane and Doha this year.
“I tried my best to fight every point,” said the 31-year-old Svetlana, owner of two Grand slam singles titles who enjoyed a resurgence in 2016, winning two titles as she returned to the top 10 in the world for the first time since 2010. “Karolina is one of the best players this year.”
Elena, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year who has reached a career high of 15th in the world at the age of 30, said important doubles wins — including a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics — had helped her big-match composure.
“It’s not easy to hold your nerve,” she said. “But I’m really happy the way I handled it. I was very focused. I was not thinking about the final. I was just thinking particularly about every single game, every single shot.” AFP