Sock beats Nishikori to gain Indian Wells semifinals

  • Sock beats Nishikori to gain Indian Wells semifinals

Sock beats Nishikori to gain Indian Wells semifinals

Pliskova fought off three break points to once again send the set into a tiebreak, where Kuznetsova's rock-solid defense shut her down, allowing the Czech just two points as Kuznetsova closed out the match and a spot into the final.

Vesnina defeated 28th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4 in Friday's semifinal, while Kuznetsova defeated Np. Kuznetsova beat No. 3 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).

The American saved three match points to hold and then earned six break points in the next game, but Vesnina held her nerve to hold her serve, clinching victory on her fourth match point.

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.

Williams, who ended a 15-year boycott of the event last year but lost her opening match, was in pursuit of a first Indian Wells title.

Sock has lost his two previous matches against Federer, including a 6-3, 6-2 decision at Indian Wells in 2015. It's never easy to play against her. It was her first time in the United States, and she was ranked around 250 in the world. "She didn't really allow me to put my game on tonight".

The same can't be said for Vesnina, who needed three sets to slip past both Timea Babos and Venus Williams.

Kuznetsova is now looking forward to facing her compatriot in Sunday's showpiece, admitting that she hopes the best player on the day emerges victorious. "I actually feel nearly stronger as the tournament has gone on".

Nishikori had not dropped a set in the tournament until losing the first against Sock. Mladenovic later began pushing Vesnina, saving one match point while serving down 5-2.

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

"The level was really high tonight", Wawrinka, 31, said in an on-court interview. "That's it. I play more defense, but my spin is my key, probably". I was not thinking about the final. "In those moments, you need to trust your game, and that's what I did well".

The two-time Grand Slam champion tightened up double-faulting on the first and looping a forehand long on the second.