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Kuznetsova, Vesnina set up all-Russian final

Kuznetsova, Vesnina set up all-Russian final

Svetlana Kuznetsova is relishing the prospect of taking on fellow Russian Elena Vesnina in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday. Kuznetsova beat No. 3 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).

Vesnina, seeded No. 14 here, had trailed No. 8-seeded Kuznetsova, 1-4, in the second set before she won four straight games. As Williams shook off a lethargic start and began to apply some pressure, Vesnina kept her poise, finishing off the contest on her fourth match point after fending off six break points in the final game.

"I was in the final nine years ago, so it is nice to be here again".

She beat No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber and No. 12 Venus Williams on her way to the biggest final of her career at age 30.

Stan Wawrinka raised his game on the big points and dominated the climactic third-set tiebreaker to beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2) to reach the semifinals in the men's draw.

Kuznetsova started off strong, breaking twice against Pliskova's powerful serve to jump ahead a 3-0 lead. Kuznetsova has the better athleticism out of the two players and has more firepower in her shots. When Vesnina netted a flat backhand, Kuznetsova had a third set point.

"I was really fighting like it's the last game of my life", Vesnina said. While she lost her semifinal match with partner Ekaterina Makarova, with whom she won the women's doubles title at the Olympics, her double duty run in Indian Wells has been plenty impressive.

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"'Kiki' is having a great season, she is on fire, so I was trying to focus point-by-point".

The physical and emotional strain of the draining first set took a toll on Vesnina in the second. But Vesnina broke back and served out the set 7-5.

Vesnina had 38 unforced errors and eight double faults; Williams had 47 unforced errors and seven double faults.

"I didn't break her when I had the opportunity", Wozniacki said.

"It was a very heartbreaking match", said the World No. 15 after the match. "In those moments, you need to trust your game, and that's what I did well".

The Russian lost in the first round of qualifying previous year but in the latter of half 2016 she reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon and finished ranked inside the top 20 for the first time in her career.

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