Elena Vesnina came back from a 5-2 third set deficit to beat Roberta Vinci and make her first WTA semifinal of 2014 at the Portugal Open.
WTA Staff

OEIRAS, Portugal - Eighth-seeded Elena Vesnina rallied past fourth-seeded Roberta Vinci at the Portugal Open on Thursday to make her first WTA semifinal of the season.

Watch live action from Oeiras Friday & Saturday on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

Vesnina was coming off an over three-hour defeat of Bojana Jovanovski that saw her survive a match point. And though her clash with Vinci wasn't quite as long, it had plenty of drama too.

Vinci was seemingly on her way to victory when she took a 5-2 lead in the third set. She even was two points from the match at 30-15 in that game. But Vesnina managed to win that game and four more from there for a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5 triumph.

Close encounters are nothing new for Vesnina and Vinci, with four straight in their head-to-head having gone three sets. Vesnina also has now won five of their eight matches.

"I played two tough matches in a row," Vesnina said. "In both of them I was down and came back. I'm just happy that I fought until the end and didn't give up. Everything was against me. Roberta played really well today. She was playing unbelievably at the beginning of the third set. I had no chances, but I just tried to fight for every single point, got lucky on a couple of key points and was able to come back.

"I've been working for many years and am getting more mature. I'm not putting that much pressure on myself. I'm really enjoying myself on the court and trying to win as many matches as I can."

Next up for Vesnina is fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who upset No.2 seed Eugenie Bouchard in another of Thursday's quarterfinals.

"It's going to be a great match," Vesnina said. "I love playing against her. She's a great champion. She's one of the best players on the WTA, one of the nicest and a very good friend. She really likes clay. It's going to be a difficult match. I hope I can recover fast for tomorrow and play good tennis."

Also winning to set up a semifinal contest were top-seeded Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro and Romanian qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu.

Suarez Navarro was a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Polona Hercog, and has surrendered just seven games through three matches. Begu beat Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3, 7-6 (6), to advance to her first WTA semifinal since Linz in October 2012.