WTA Indian Wells: Elena Vesnina continues amazing run in Indian Wells; defeats Angelique Kerber in straight sets

WTA Indian Wells: Elena Vesnina continues amazing run in Indian Wells; defeats Angelique Kerber in straight sets

The BNP Paribas Open saw Elena Vesnina earn the biggest victory of her career as she technically earned a win over a world number one as she defeated Angelique Kerber, who would rise to the top of the rankings on next Monday.

don-han
Don Han

The fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open witnessed a huge upset when Elena Vesnina outclassed Angelique Kerber in straight sets, progressing to her first ever quarterfinal in Indian Wells.

Kerber fails to take her chances

Vesnina had a shaky start to the match as she opted to serve first in the match, which proved to be a risky decision as Kerber managed to get to deuce before the Russian hit some strong serves into play disrupt Kerber’s rhythm and seal the opening service game, preventing herself from falling behind early in the match.

Elena Vesnina's backhand was really working well today | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina's backhand was really working well today | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

The Russian then prevailed in her first return game of the match, coming through after saving one game point and capitalizing on her third break point of the game, taking the advantage and opening up an early 2-0 lead in the first set. Unforced errors by Vesnina and the formidable forehand of Kerber then allowed the world number two to break straight back and return level on serve, with the German looking to slowly get herself adapted to the conditions in Stadium 2.

Vesnina actually had the chance to regain the lead just right in the next game, but Kerber found some good serves and also made good use of Vesnina’s abundance of unforced errors to hold her nerves and secure the service hold to prevent the Russian from regaining the early lead. Kerber then had her own chances as she earned a break point in the fifth game, but Vesnina managed to fend off the challenge of Kerber and narrowly held her service game to remain on serve in the set.

Angelique Kerber's forehand was the only positive takeaway for her from this match | Photo : Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Angelique Kerber's forehand was the only positive takeaway for her from this match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

The soon-to-be world number one then looked out of sorts as she failed to go against the powerful and consistent groundstrokes of Vesnina, giving up her service game to allow the Russian to take a 4-2 lead and edge closer to the first set victory. A nervy service hold from 0-30 down then paved the way for Vesnina to be just one game away from winning the first set, looking in great form.

After earning a set point while Kerber was saving to stay in the first set, Vesnina wasted it after Kerber managed to force Vesnina to move left and right around the court, with a forehand from the German forcing an error out of Vesnina, saving the set point. This allowed Kerber to hold serve eventually, gifting the Russian a chance to serve out the first set. The 14th seed did just so, overcoming three break points and her nerves to clinch the service hold and the first set after 52 minutes of play, with Vesnina just one set away from a major upset.

Angelique Kerber hits a backhand | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Angelique Kerber hits a backhand | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

Vesnina strolls to the upset

Vesnina’s momentum and confidence were carried over to the second set to the first as the Russian quickly went up 0-30 in the opening game of the set, threatening to break serve and take the advantage as soon as possible. However, Kerber maintained her composure and started her push for a deciding set to have a chance to win this match.

A nervy service hold followed up next as this time it was Vesnina who had to overcome some struggles to barely hold her serve and remain level on the scoreboard. The German seemed to be slowly fading away from the match when she was broken in the third game of the set to gift Vesnina the lead early in the second set, and overall a lead of a set and a break.

Elena Vesnina celebrates the win | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina celebrates the win | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

Kerber had the golden opportunity to return level on the scoreboard just in the next game as she earned a 0-30 lead and soon had a break point to return on serve. However, Vesnina came up with some solid groundstrokes to consolidate the break of serve and edge closer to the victory. Kerber’s woes continued in the next game as she was broken for the second successive time to gift Vesnina a double break lead, with the match surely over for the world number two now.

Nevertheless, Kerber showed her fighting spirit and determination as she got one of the breaks back immediately, lessening the deficit and seemed to start to mount a comeback. Back-to-back service holds to love followed for both players as Vesnina used her advantage to have a chance to serve out the match at 5-3, which she dutifully did so as she fended off the tough resistance of Kerber to triumph in straight sets, creating the huge upset.

Both players meet at the net after the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Both players meet at the net after the match | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

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