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Kuznetsova sets up Vesnina final

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 19-03-2017


© Provided by BSkyB

Svetlana Kuznetsova toppled world No 3 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) on Friday to book an all-Russian final against Elena Vesnina at the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells.

World No 8 Kuznetsova will make her third appearance in the Indian Wells final after finishing runner-up in the tournament in both 2007 and 2008.

She withstood 10 aces in a tight contest against Czech right-hander Pliskova, who has already won titles in Brisbane and Doha this year.

"I tried my best to fight every point," said two-time Australian Open champion Kuznetsova. "Karolina is one of the best players this year."

After falling behind 5-3, Pliskova made the Russian work to close out the opening set, saving a set point in the ninth game and four more in the tiebreaker after Kuznetsova seized a 6-2 lead in the decider.

A double fault left Kuznetsova with one more chance at 6-5, and she grabbed it with a forehand passing shot.

After an exchange of breaks in the second they went to the tiebreaker, where Kuznetsova again took a 6-2 lead and the increasingly frustrated Pliskova surrendered with a string of errors.

Earlier, Vesnina powered past France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-4 to continue a sparkling run of form which has already seen her beat Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams at Indian Wells.

"It's not easy to hold your nerve but I'm really happy the way I handled it," ," she said after the win

"I was very focused. I was not thinking about the final. I was just thinking particularly about every single game, every single shot."

Vesnina built commanding leads in each set - 5-0 in the first and 5-1 in the second and Mladenovic, who claimed a maiden WTA title in St. Petersburg last month before reaching the final in Acapulco, couldn't find an answer.

"I really think she was just too good for me today," she said.

"I felt like I had to do kind of crazy points to win. She didn't really allow me to put my game on."

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