Evergreen Kuznetsova reaches final in Indian Wells for first time since 2008

18 March 2017 06:38

Svetlana Kuznetsova rolled back the years as she made it through to the final of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in nine years.

The Russian, 31, put in a superb display to beat third seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/2), having last made the showpiece in Indian Wells in 2008.

Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam champion and former world number two and she is enjoying a renaissance in her 30s, with a fine array of shot-making doing for Pliskova.

"I tried my best to fight for every point, Karolina is one of the best players, she played so well and I had to put in a performance," she said on BT Sport 1.

"I was in the final nine years ago, so it is nice to be here again."

She will meet compatriot Elena Vesnina, who takes her place in her first final at this level.

Vesnina, who lost in the first round of qualifying here last year, got the better of France's Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets, winning 6-3 6-4, though it was far from easy.

Vesnina built up commanding leads in both sets, but struggled to close them out. In the first set she was 5-0 up and in the second she was 30-0 up at 5-1 before Mladenovic made a game of it.

The 30-year-old eventually got the job done, though, and is proud of her achievements in Indian Wells.

She said on BT Sport 1: "Today was big and it was electric, I felt the atmosphere and it was a very important match and I was playing pretty good.

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

"In tennis 30 is the new 20. They are just numbers, I am really enjoying myself, I feel good, I feel healthy and I love tennis. I am really lucky that I can play tennis and travel all over the world and now I am playing in the final here. I am so humbled."

Source: PA