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Mladenovic reaches Indian Wells semis and top 20 in rankings

Mladenovic reaches Indian Wells semis and top 20 in rankingsā€

The World No 15 lost the first set on a tie break, but fought back to take the title after a thrilling 6-7 (8-6), 7-5, 6-4 victory.

However, she did dispatch Kristina Mladenovic with remarkable ease in the semifinals on Friday when she mounted 5-0 and 5-1 leads in the first and second sets, respectively. She was one point away from extending the lead when Pliskova's game started to click together and the Czech began to mount her comeback, saving set point to grab both breaks back.

Swinging more freely, Mladenovic fought off one match point with a volley victor while serving down 2-5, broke the Russian in the next game and then held serve to make it 4-5.

There were 16 service breaks in a gripping contest which swung one way and another before Vesnina finally came out on top, securing only her third WTA singles title - and a first since 2013 - to go 13th in the rankings.

This is Vesnina's first appearance in a final since Charleston last season and the biggest final of her career on the WTA Tour. It's never easy to play against her. In the fourth round, the eighth seed prevailed over 21st Caroline Garcia, 6-1, 6-4, advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. "It was first time I saw it, I was, like, 'Whoa, I really, really want to play this tournament.' I was dreaming just to get here".

Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is arguably playing the best tennis of her career in nearly a decade.

"I felt like I had to do kind of insane points to win".

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Neither Mladenovic nor Wozniacki had dropped a set before their quarterfinal.

"I just feel great because I have been fighting for every ball", Kuznetsova said in her post-match press conference.

Vesnina had 38 unforced errors and eight double faults; Williams had 47 unforced errors and seven double faults.

"I was really looking forward to playing the match", Federer told fans waiting for the match on stadium court.

Mladenovic broke back in the seventh game, but it was too late to deny the set to Vesnina. "The matches I have been winning this year, especially this tournament, I probably wouldn't have been winning year and a half, two years ago".

Eighteen-time Grand Slam victor Federer advanced to the semi-finals without lifting a racket as suspected food poisoning forced Australian Nick Kyrgios to withdraw from their much anticipated quarter-final.



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