Indian Wells Masters: Elena Vesnina wins title after marathon final

By  PA Sport | Posted  21-Mar-2017

Russia’s Elena Vesnina kisses the Indian Wells trophy on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Russia’s Elena Vesnina kisses the Indian Wells trophy on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Indian Wells (US): Elena Vesnina overcame her fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in a marathon battle to claim her third WTA title at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Vesnina, the number 14 seed, lost in the opening round of qualifying at this tournament a year ago. But 12 months later she was an Indian Wells winner as she completed a remarkable 6-7 (6/8) 7-5 6-4 victory to take home the biggest title of her career.

The match will go down in tournament history as the longest women’s final in terms of games played, 35.

The previous record of 30 had happened twice, in 1999 when Serena Williams defeated Steffi Graf and in 2015 when Simona Halep defeated Jelena Jankovic. Eighth seed Kuznetsova edged a marathon first set lasting 71 minutes by winning a tie-break 8-6. Vesnina trailed 4-1 in the second set before winning four games in a row to force a decider.

She trailed 4-2 in that set, but again won four successive games to win a match lasting just over three hours.

Vesnina’s victory sees her break into the top eight on the Road To Singapore leaderboard for the first time in 2017. The 30-year-old enters at six with Kuznetsova moving down to eight. Vesnina will also rise to 13 on the WTA rankings, a career-high mark.