Kuznetsova Edges Pliskova To Meet Vesnina In All-Russian Indian Wells Final
Published March 17, 2017 12:14
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova needed two hours and two tiebreak sets to edge past Karolina Pliskova 7-6(5), 7-6(2) and reach her third final at the BNP Paribas Open, where countrywoman Elena Vesnina awaits.
"I felt great. I felt like I was just giving all I had in me there, and that's what I work for, you know, the moments that really matter. I just feel great because I have been fighting for every ball," Kuznetsova said in her post-match press conference.
"If she managed to win one of the sets and then we go for third, I would still be fighting and still playing every ball. If she manages to win me, I would say great job. But it doesn't change my attempt in the match."
Kuznetsova started off strong, breaking twice against Pliskova's powerful serve to jump ahead a 3-0 lead. She was one point away from extending the lead when Pliskova's game started to click together and the Czech began to mount her comeback, saving set point to grab both breaks back.
But Pliskova, who was playing with tape on her right shoulder and strapping on the same elbow, found her forehands letting her down time and again, missing on key points and sending the match into a tiebreak. Kuznetsova soared ahead to a 6-2 lead, but Pliskova saved four set points - including a Kuznetsova double fault - but a pinpoint accurate down-the-line passing shot finally gave the Russian the set.
It was an even closer battle in the second; after trading breaks to open the set, both players were locked into a fierce baseline battle, with neither giving an inch.
Pliskova fought off three break points to once again send the set into a tiebreak, where Kuznetsova's rock-solid defense shut her down, allowing the Czech just two points as Kuznetsova closed out the match and a spot into the final.
"Tonight I think she was not missing much from the baseline," Pliskova said. "So she was really playing well. Definitely feeling the ball. She was even serving well. I played her a few times, and different conditions twice. So I think I would say this was the best match what I have played against her from her side.
"I needed a match like this. It's my third what I lost this year, and I think the best from those matches what I lost. So definitely there are positives."