Friday, 17 March 2017

Mladenovic and Vesnina impress

Day 11 ticket holders at Indian Wells received value for money as all four quarter finals played went the distance, two of the matches decided with a tie break.

First up Kristina Mladenovic had to break a few personal records in her battle against Caroline Wozniacki.  The. French 28th seed had never beaten Wozniacki in their previous three meetings, and had never reached a semi final in a Premier Mandatory tournament.
After six games history was repeating itself with the Danish former world number one leading 5-1, having saved seven break points.  Wozniacki only had two chances and converted both.  Mladenovic did eventually break the 14th seed, just once from ten attempts, losing the set 6-3 but well and truly competitive.

Wozniacki broke early in set two, but both players always looked more secure when receiving and so it didn't surprise that each dropped serve three times on the way to a tie break.  Mladenovic won the tie break 7-4 and dominated the match from that point.  
Whatever happens now, Kristina Mladenovic will enter the world top twenty for the first time after this tournament.  Her 3-6 7-6 6-2 win has earned a semi final against Elema Vesnina.

Vesnina also achieved her first semi final at a Premier Mandatory event, and had to defeat Venus Williams in the process.  Armed with the knowledge of a positive head to head record against the Aus Open finalist, Vesnina started with a bang, taking full advantage of a sluggish Williams.  Once the first three games were in her tennis bag, the Russian 14th seed rode the momentum through to a 6-2 first set thrashing.

Instead of carefully playing her way back into the match, Venus began attacking, trusting her forehand which has brought her such success throughout her career.  Vesnina now had serious competition with which to deal, and to a certain extent she managed.  However, her reliance on second serves couldn't carry the burden for the whole set and Williams' weight of winning and error creating shots was reflected on the scoreboard 6-4.

Venus broke Elena in the opening game of the decider before the Russian took over, winning five of the next six games, and having three match points on the Venus serve in game eight.  Williams saved all three and forced Vesnina to serve out the match.
In an enthralling game, Elena was down 0-40 but saved all three break points, plus another three after that. Eventually it was Vesnina who happily held onto her serve to win 
6-2 4-6 6-3.
The women's semi finals are now decided:

Karolina Pliskova v Svetlana Kuznetsova 
Kristina Mladenovic v Elena Vesnina

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