No.14 seed Elena Vesnina scored the biggest win of her career over soon-to-be World No.1 Angelique Kerber to book a quarterfinal match with Venus Williams at the BNP Paribas Open.
WTA Staff

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.14 seed Elena Vesnina earned the first Top 3 win of her career on Tuesday night, shocking No.2 seed and next week's World No.1 Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-3, to reach her first quarterfinal at the BNP Paribas Open.

"I think I played a really good match," she said in her on-court interview. "Angie will be No.1 again next week, so congrats to her; she's an amazing player who has had an amazing season. She's such a great competitor and fighter."

"I felt quite good today on the court, from the beginning of the match," she added to WTA Insider. "I felt my shots, I felt my serve. Angelique brings a lot of balls back and is one of the best defenders on tour. Going into this match, I knew she hasn't had the best season, but you have to take the match from a top player because they're never going to give it to you. I tried to be aggressive, with enough pace to move her around.

"Everything worked well today."

Both women had to battle just to make it into the fourth round; Kerber was a game from defeat against Pauline Parmentier while Vesnina fought off dizziness and an in-form Timea Babos from a break down in the final set.

Swiftly breaking to start the match, Vesnina never trailed her higher-ranked opposition, holding off a late surge from Kerber when she took a set and double break lead.

"There were a few big games on my serve that I knew I couldn't lose, because she's a fighter and can regroup well enough to take control. I was trying to dictate and stay one step ahead of her. It wasn't easy; I had a couple of tight moments."

In all, the Russian struck an impressive 28 winners to 21 unforced errors, and broke hte Kerber serve five times in the match; as the two-time Indian Wells semifinalist threatened a comeback, Vesnina held to love to reclaim the momentum the break for the biggest win in her career after one hour and 24 minutes on court.

"I was a little nervous at the end of the match," she said of Kerber winning eight of nine points to close the gap from 4-1 to 4-3, "but my dad came out on court and told me some simple things, reminded me to stick to the game plan I had before. I had a good first serve percentage in key moments, and I think my net game helped as well; it allowed me to put pressure on her by coming in."

"It was actually not my day," Kerber said in her post-match press conference. "I was doing a lot of mistakes. I was not moving good. But it happens. She played good tennis from the beginning until the end, and she was aggressive. She took the game in her hands.

"I'll take the positive things from this tournament; I will sit down later with my team and my coach, and we will discuss about the positives and the plan going forward."

Up next for the Wimbledon semifinalist is No.12 seed and five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams, who recovered from a set down to escape against a surging Peng Shuai earlier in the day.

"I have so much respect for Venus and Serena; they're great champions. I hope it's going to be a great match because it's always an honor to play against her."

Vesnina leads their head-to-head 3-2, and won their most recent match at last year's Miami Open, which she won in three sets.

"We've had some great battles in the past; she's won, I've won. But it's a totally different story; it's Indian Wells and I'm really enjoying my time here."