Elena Vesnina triumphed over Svetlana Kuznetsova to win the Indian Wells WTA title in what was a grueling three-hour battle between the two Russians.
I cannot believe it to be honest, to win such a big title against Svetlana
Vesnina at 30, the younger of the two by a year, eventually closed the match out 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4 0ver the two-time grand slam champion in what was her first Premier Mandatary final of the tour.
For Kuznetsova, it was a third disappointment in as many finals at Indian Wells, this one coming a decade after she fell in back to back finals in 2007 and 2008.
And she came close to ending that run for she led 4-2 in the decider only for Vesnina to break back. She went on to win a marathon ninth game in which Kuznetsova saved four break points before she lost a fifth to earn the opportunity to serve for the title.
She achieved that objective on her second match point when Kuznetsova committed a service return error.
"I cannot believe it to be honest, to win such a big title against Svetlana, a Top 10 player," said an elated Vesnina. "When I was down 4-1 in the second set, it seemed like so far away this title. Now I won it and I’m so, so happy. I was playing a bit more free when I was down in the score. I took my chances.
Vesnina added describing the roller coaster of a match. "She had so many break points on my serve. She was 30-Love up couple of times on her serves. And I always keep coming back. I stick there, you know.
"I was just not giving anything at that moment. I didn’t think about the end of the match.
"And when I broke her at 4-All and went to serve for the match, I had this in my mind: I’m not going to give it. I went to serve and I was, like, I’m never going to lose this game."
In turn, Kuznetsova admitted: I felt like when I was playing, I didn’t feel good today, because she was very aggressive, and I was a little bit out of my game. I was too far from the court, and I was running all the way, way behind, so the only thing I could do was defend.
"I was too passive. I think that’s why I lost," she concluded.