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By Chris Oddo | Saturday March 10, 2018

Elena Vesnina

2017 champion Elena Vesnina was in trouble for a moment but surged to win 12 of the final 14 games against CiCi Bellis.

Photo Source: TTV

Elena Vesnina ended the upset aspirations of 18-year-old American CiCi Bellis with a stunning turnaround on Day 4 at the BNP Paribas at Indian Wells. Last year’s champion, perhaps facing the pressure of defending the biggest singles title of her career, had to come back from a set down but she did so ruthlessly to complete a rousing 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Vesnina moves into the third round where she will face either Ekaterina Makarova or Angelique Kerber.

Vesnina credited a coaching session with her dad for the change in her fortunes after she was shellacked in the opening set.

“I was trying to be too close to the lines,” she said. “In the end of the first set, I called my dad and he told me just give your some space before the line. You have the whole court. Don't try to be too clean.”

After surrendering three breaks in the opening set, Vesnina saved all three break points she faced in sets two and three, while breaking five times on nine opportunities.

“When I won those two games in the second set, I felt more confident after that and I started to play more free,” Vesnina said. “Because in the first set, I was kind of tight and not really precise with my shots. Then the second set and the third set it started working well and my serve, as well.”

The Russian downplayed the fact that she has to defend 1000 points at Indian Wells, and gave full credit to the rising American for pushing her.

“CiCi, she's having a great season,” Vesnina said. “She's only 18 years old. You know, when they announced that and they said highest ranking is 35 in the world, I was like, ‘whoa, that's impressive.’ On the warmup I was thinking about that. She has a bright future. She's a really talented girl, good fighter. Yeah, I'm just happy that I won this match.”


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