News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Are you ready for prime time? It’s semifinal Friday at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open and we’re previewing both matchups right here at



[14] Elena Vesnina (RUS #15) vs. [28] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA #26)
Head-to-head: Vesnina leads, 2-0
Key Stat: Two Russians have reached the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open for the first time since 2013.

Two former Grand Slam doubles champions will battle it out on the singles court on Friday for the right to reach their first ever Premier Mandatory final when Kristina Mladenovic and Elena Vesnina lock horns for the third time. Mladenovic edged Caroline Wozniacki in three sets in the quarters on Thursday, ending a three-match losing streak against the Dane and assuring herself of a spot in the Top 20 next week, but the Frenchwoman would like to prolong her stay in Southern California a few days longer. “Every day I go out there on the court, in the gym practicing, it’s for moment like that,” she said after defeating Wozniacki for the first time. “So I’m not getting too excited. I’m just super satisfied that I am on these kind of stages right now and trying to use my chances.”

Vesnina fought past Venus Williams on Thursday to secure her spot in the semifinals. The Russian is a three-time major champion on the doubles court but is just now starting to blossom in singles. She reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year and could climb to a career-high ranking of No.13 in the world with a title at Indian Wells. But the veteran knows that she’ll have her hands full with Mladenovic. “Definitely she’s having a great season,” Vesnina said of the Frenchwoman. “It’s going to be tough match. She’s an upcoming player. We played couple of times, but two, three years ago, and totally different story now.”

Will it be the Russian who flies into the final, or can Mladenovic upend her and keep her hopes of becoming the first Frenchwoman to win the BNP Paribas Open title alive?

Pick: Vesnina in three

[3] Karolina Pliskova (CZE #3) vs. [8] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #8)
Head-to-head: Tied, 1-1
Key Stat: Both of the pair’s previous meetings have gone three sets.

Never mind the shy demeanor. Karolina Pliskova is very much a tennis player en vogue right now. She’s a rising star that possesses an electrifying game and has been tabbed by pundits as likely to become one of the game’s dominant forces for many years to come. On Friday the menacing Czech will square off against a player who has been there, done that and is now experiencing an inspiring renaissance. Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is back at the top of the game after six years outside of the Top 10, and she is relishing the experience of reaching the BNP Paribas Open semifinals for the first time since 2008. “If I look back, for sure, it was very long time ago,” she said of her last deep run at Indian Wells on Wednesday after taking out compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. “So it’s great. I’m enjoying it much more now, because now I know the value of this.”

This intriguing match-up of resurgent veteran and blossoming star will be a bit of a chess match between two stylistically opposite players. Kuznetsova will hope to use variety and get her opponent the move while Pliskova knows she’ll need to dictate, shorten points, and be decisive from the baseline. “We had two matches, two times, three-setters, and two times was really tough,” Pliskova said of her previous encounters with the Russian. “I have to play well. I just keep the same game plan and have to be aggressive… And don’t let her play, otherwise she’s going to let me run. That’s what she probably wants me to do.”

Pick: Pliskova in three

By the Numbers:

1 – Mladenovic is the only semifinalist that has yet to win multiple WTA titles.

20 – By reaching the semifinals Mladenovic has assured herself a spot inside the Top 20 when next week’s rankings are released.

19-2 – Karolina Pliskova’s record in 2017. The Czech is bidding to become the WTA’s first 20-match winner today.

27 – Number of career wins Svetlana Kuznetsova has achieved at Indian Wells. The Russian is now tied for sixth all-time with Martin Hingis.

2011 – The only year a Frenchwoman has reached the final at Indian Wells. Marion Bartoli lost to Caroline Wozniacki in three sets.

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