WTA Indian Wells: Elena Vesnina sneaks past Timea Babos to record her best performance in the tournament

WTA Indian Wells: Elena Vesnina sneaks past Timea Babos to record her best performance in the tournament

The third round of the BNP Paribas Open saw Elena Vesnina getting past a very tough opponent in Timea Babos, triumphing in three sets and setting up a meeting with Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.

don-han
Don Han

The third round of the BNP Paribas Open saw yet another epic as Elena Vesnina prevailed in three tough sets against Timea Babos, sealing a place in her first ever appearance in the fourth round.

Vesnina takes the first set

Babos got off to a perfect start to the match as Vesnina’s slow start caused her to gift the Hungarian a service hold to love, with the Russian making countless unforced errors to start the match with. Vesnina’s woes continued in the next game as her slow start started to make an impact in her opening service game, falling behind 0-30 and then gifting a break point opportunity to Babos for her to take the early lead.

Elena Vesnina's unforced errors almost cost her greatly | Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina's unforced errors almost cost her greatly | Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America

However, Babos failed to convert it as she hit a backhand into the net, giving Vesnina a chance to make her way back into the game. After narrowly holding onto her service game, her confidence level rose as she made the first breakthrough just right in the next game, breaking serve immediately and taking the advantage, jumping out to an early 2-1 lead. Having some problems consolidating the break, Vesnina fended off a break point opportunity to barely hold onto the advantage, extending her lead to two games.

As both players became very solid in their service games as the match progressed, a break of serve seemed to be rare as neither was able to make any breakthrough in their return games. Nevertheless, the next break point opportunity also came as a set point for Vesnina in the ninth game of the set, with Babos showing some nerves of steel as she was able to save the set point and hold her serve in the nervy game. Vesnina made use of her advantage and successfully served the first set out comfortably in the next game, being halfway from the victory within 48 minutes.

Babos fights back

Vesnina seemed to have the perfect start to the second set as she earned a break point in the opening game of the set, having the golden opportunity to take the early lead and run away with the match. However, Babos once again saved the break point to hold her serve to start the second set with, escaping from the brinks of falling behind early in the set. This tough hold of serve gave Babos the confidence and momentum as she immediately broke serve in the next game to allow herself to take an early 2-0 lead, looking to send the match into a deciding set.

After the Hungarian managed to consolidate the break with a tough hold of serve, Vesnina finally got onto the scoreboard in the second set as she had a nervy service hold, lessening the deficit to just two games. Nevertheless, Babos continued to stroll through the second set as she soon found herself having a double break advantage, breaking serve once more as Vesnina started to hand out free points with her unforced errors, looking under the weather as well. Eventually, Babos successfully closed out the second set within 33 minutes having broken twice in the set and thus leveling the match and gaining the momentum in the process.

Timea Babos faltered at the most crucial moments today | Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America
Timea Babos faltered at the most crucial moments today | Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America

Vesnina steals the win

After an exchange of service holds to start the final set with, it seemed as though we had a winner for the day as Babos made the first breakthrough and broke serve first, taking an early 2-1 lead as she had already won eight of the last ten games. With the momentum and confidence, many expected Babos would stroll to the victory from then on as Vesnina continued to hand out unnecessary unforced errors, but the Russian stormed back to level the match and prevent herself from lagging behind on the scoreboard. After one more exchange of breaks, Vesnina finally earned the first service hold which followed four consecutive service breaks, taking the lead for the first time in the final set.

The higher-ranked player looked to win her third consecutive game as she threatened to break serve in the next game, but was unable to earn a single break point opportunity as Babos held her nerves to remain on serve. Achieving an excellent hold to love, Vesnina quickly earned match points on Babos’ serve when the Hungarian was serving to stay in the match. Unable to deal with the pressure well, Babos failed to find her first serves and eventually, Vesnina was able to step up her game and clinched the match in three sets after 2 hours and 17 minutes of play.

Elena Vesnina waits for a serve | Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina waits for a serve | Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America

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