Vesnina beat Ivanovic in their only previous meeting this year, in the early rounds of Eastbourne, and in the early stages of this match it looked like she was continuing that momentum - she won the first four games of the match and eventually got the set, 6-4, then broke for a 1-0 lead in the second set.
Ivanovic fought back - she won 11 of the next 15 games to not only take the second set, 6-3, but build a 5-2 lead in the third as well. But there was one last momentum swing and it went in Vesnina's favor, as the No.5-seeded Russian eventually squeaked past the No.2-seeded Serb in a thriller, 64 36 76(1).
"It's always tough to play against Ana," Vesnina said. "I started well today, very cleanly. I used a lot of pace and moved her around, and pushed to her backhand side - I was really using my chances. But Ana is a top player - she started to change some things, like she started serving better, and I started to have some trouble on my serve. The match turned. And then in the third set she was leading 5-2.
"But I was just thinking it wasn't over, that every game was really close and both of us had chances, so if I just kept fighting for every single point I had a chance. It was just a question of fighting spirit.
"I got a bit lucky in the beginning of the tie-breaker and then I just took my opportunity."
Despite losing, Ivanovic secured a spot in the semis by winning a set - did she have mixed feelings?
"I played really well in my first two matches but today was not my day," Ivanovic said. "It was a very tough match, especially in the third set, but she played really well and I just have to look forward.
"The most important thing for me right now is just to rest and recover for tomorrow."
Ivanovic is now 8-1 lifetime at this event - she won the tournament twice when it was held in Bali.
"I will probably watch that match," Vesnina said. "I know it's going to be difficult for Tsvetana, because she's playing a very good player, but Tsvetana is also a good player and has beaten many top players before. I'm going to root for her tonight - otherwise I have no chance to be in the semifinals!"