Indian Wells: Wawrinka Enters Semifinals, Venus Out

Vesnina soars to new heights in Indian Wells

In an all-Russian final, Vesnina stared down scalding heat, an experienced Svetlana Kuznetsova, a 1-4 second-set deficit and a 2-4 hole in the third and never once blinked.

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. Kuznetsova soared ahead to a 6-2 lead, but Pliskova saved four set points - including a Kuznetsova double fault - but a pinpoint accurate down-the-line passing shot finally gave the Russian the set.

Down a set and three service breaks at 5-1 in the second set, Mladenovic won three straight games - fending off one match point - before Vesnina held serve for the victory.

In case beating Venus wasn't impressive enough, Vesnina also beat Angelique Kerber-who will be the world No.1-ranked player on Monday-in the fourth round.

Stan Wawrinka raised his game on the big points and dominated the climactic third-set tiebreaker to beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2) to reach the semifinals in the men's draw. Mladenovic recovered from an early break in the second to move ahead 5-3 before ultimately leveling the match 7-4 in the tiebreak. "It's my first time in the semifinal in a Masters 1000. I'm just so, so happy".

"'Kiki' is having a great season, she is on fire, so I was trying to focus point-by-point".

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Nishikori had not dropped a set in the tournament until losing the first against Sock.

"This was the biggest final and today, it was big", Vesnina said.

Vesnina had 46 winners and 49 unforced errors. "She looked exhausted and slow on the court", Vesnina said. 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. "I hope I can enjoy it and hope I can show the best tennis as well in the final".

Both Mladenovic and Vesnina are entering the match at the back of some emphatic wins. "The matches I have been winning this year, especially this tournament, I probably wouldn't have been winning year and a half, two years ago". "That's it. I play more defense, but my spin is my key, probably".

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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