News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – Elena Vesnina may have been victorious in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open – but she immediately took the time to pay tribute to her defeated opponent, Venus Williams.

“This win today against Venus really means a lot for me,” said the delighted Russian. “It’s never easy to play against her. She’s a great champion and always fighting till the end.”

Vesnina praised the seven-time Grand Slam winner’s dedication to tennis – and admired her love for the sport.

“She’s a great example of how you can love tennis,” she said. “You know, for so many years, she brings so much passion and love to this game. She’s coming and giving everything, you know. She’s always fighting, always enjoying, smiling. You know, you can see she’s, like, little girl on the court, actually, enjoying more than half of the WTA Tour. And we have to learn from her, you know, how she’s appreciating what she’s doing.

“I think maybe it came to her maybe kind of few years ago. Maybe when she was young she was a bit different, but now she’s totally enjoying herself and she’s, like, inspiring everybody around her, you know, her and Serena, as well. Because really what they bring to the tennis, to the woman’s tennis, is just amazing.”

The 30-year-old had taken a 3-0 lead against the American in the first set – and then suddenly found herself under pressure.

“She was missing some easy shots, she looked tired and slow on the court,” Vesnina recalled. “Then, all of a sudden, she started moving around, hitting great shots, winners from all over the place.

“And in this momentum, I kind of lost my rhythm, because I didn’t know what to expect. I played against Venus, I don’t know, four times. I kind of knew the way she’s playing, hitting, serving, and today was totally different story. Today she was playing totally different tactic match.

“Yeah, so it was not easy. When she won the second set, I was, like, I saw previous matches that she was down with match point with a set point, and I was like, ‘Uh-oh, it’s coming back again. I’m going to be another victim of Venus. I don’t want. I want to win this. I want this match.'”

So Vesnina battled back in the decider, revealing that she was pleased with the reserves of courage she drew upon to take the match 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 – particularly because she was 0-40 down in the final game.

“I was actually very proud of myself, how I held my nerve. I was love-40 down, but, like, I didn’t even think about that it’s love-40. It was point by point, trying to create a good rally, trying to move her around.

“It was difficult a little bit for me. I was struggling with the first-serve percentage in the end of the third set, so it was really important with me. I start[ed] serving with a little bit less power, and a bit more pace.

“[A] couple of kind of big points she gave me unforced error, and I stick to this game. You know, I was, like, I [am] never gonna lose this game. I was really fighting like it’s the last game of my life.”

In the semifinals, Vesnina will face Kristina Mladenovic – a rival who offers a fresh range of challenges.

“I need to think how I need to play against her, because I have couple of thoughts on my mind,” she mused. “She’s a great doubles player, as well. You know, so she’s kind of player on all the court, you know. She can come into the net. She’s using the dropshots, slices. So it’s going to be difficult match – but on the other hand, it’s very exciting to play the semifinal match here in Indian Wells.”


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