Indefatigable Vesnina wins marathon Indian Wells final

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark returns a shot to Kristina Mladenovic of France at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Thursday

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark returns a shot to Kristina Mladenovic of France at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Thursday

After more than three hours in the scorching sun on the Indian Wells hard court, Vesnina finally clinched victory on her second championship point when eighth seed Kuznetsova sent a service return long.

Elena Vesnina recovered after blowing three match points to beat Venus Williams 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday night.

This will be the second all-Russian final to be contested at the BNP Paribas Open with the first one taking place in 2006 when Maria Sharapova defeated Elena Dementieva in straight sets.

"She's on fire. So am I", said Vesnina.

"I was in the final nine years ago, so it is nice to be here again".

Vesnina powered past France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4, continuing a sparkling campaign that has seen her shock Germany's Angelique Kerber, soon to be world No. 1, in the fourth round and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.

Vesnina is into her first career WTA Premier semifinal.

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The 24-year-old American notched his biggest singles victory yet with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 quarterfinal win over Kei Nishikori on Friday. "Now I love it even more", she said. When Vesnina netted a flat backhand, Kuznetsova had a third set point. "It was first time I saw it, I was, like, 'Whoa, I really, really want to play this tournament.' I was dreaming just to get here".

"I tried my best to fight every point", said two-time Australian Open champion Kuznetsova.

"I felt like I had to do kind of insane points to win", Mladenovic said.

Neither Mladenovic nor Wozniacki had dropped a set before their quarterfinal.

Throughout the match, the three-time finalist answered adversity with proactive play. "So I think it's a really great result for me".

"I needed a match like this". Third seed Wawrinka won a gripping slugfest against the 23-year-old Austrian, hammering home five third-set aces including one to reach quadruple match point in the tiebreak. While she lost her semifinal match with partner Ekaterina Makarova, with whom she won the women's doubles title at the Olympics, her double duty run in Indian Wells has been plenty impressive.

Eighteen-time Grand Slam victor Federer advanced to the semi-finals without lifting a racket as suspected food poisoning forced Australian Nick Kyrgios to withdraw from their much anticipated quarter-final.

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