The second round of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy saw Elena Vesnina facing Alize Cornet in a repeat of their Brisbane International thriller earlier this year. This time, it was a different outcome as Vesnina came from a set down to triumph in three sets, progressing to the quarterfinals.
Poor start from Vesnina
Cornet made a perfect start to the match as she had a service hold to love as unforced errors by Vesnina gifted the Frenchwoman the comfortable hold of service. The Russian’s slow start continued to cost her as she was broken in her opening service game to fall behind an early deficit, gifting Cornet the advantage. Cornet did not hold onto the lead for long, though, as she was immediately broken back by the Russian in the next game to return on serve after Vesnina came up with some excellent returns.
Errors after errors yet again cost Vesnina greatly as Cornet broke for the second straight time to regain her lead and take the advantage. The world number 16 soon went back on serve as she broke serve yet again after saving two break points in the process. With Cornet looking very effective in her return games, she managed to show some incredible defensive skills to break once more and have a 4-2 lead. Cornet finally ended the string of breaks with a tough hold of service as Vesnina failed to earn a break point opportunity despite getting to deuce. Serving to stay in the set, Vesnina uncharacteristically played a very erratic game to gift the first set 6-2 to Cornet after 42 minutes.
Vesnina fights back
After an exchange of service holds to start the second set with, which was something rare in this match, it was unexpectedly Vesnina who made the first breakthrough as she first broke serve in the second set to take the lead for the first time in the match. The Russian got just her second service hold of the day to consolidate the break of serve with, affirming her lead and look to send the match into a deciding set.
As both players managed to be more solid on their serves as the match progressed, and Vesnina’s groundstrokes being more accurate and precise, there were no more breaks of serve until the last game of the set where the Russian stepped up her game to break to love and clinch the second set 6-3 after 37 minutes.
Vesnina closes out victory
Vesnina had an encouraging start to the final set as she earned a much-needed comfortable service hold to start the set with, before prevailing in a marathon 15-point game where she saved a game point in the process to break serve and take the advantage, looking poised for a revenge for her loss in Brisbane. A tricky service game followed as Vesnina consolidated the break of serve with a tough service hold, with Cornet getting to deuce thrice. The Russian soon extended her lead and placed herself closer to a victory when she broke serve once more at 4-1.
Having troubles when closing out the match, Cornet broke Vesnina’s serve when she was serving for the match despite wasting four break points in the game to keep herself in the match for at least one more game. Cornet got one more game on the scoreboard as she earned a comfortable service hold to lessen the deficit. It proved to be just a consolation game as Vesnina successfully closed out the match after 2 hours and 10 minutes, having to come from a set down to do so.
Next up for Vesnina
The Russian’s next opponent would either be lucky-loser Donna Vekic or the second seed Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals. Vesnina holds a 4-3 advantage in her head-to-head record with Cibulkova and is tied with one win each against Vekic