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Friday, June 26, 2009

Vesnina victorious in titantic duel

Photo Titled Elena Vesnina celebrates
Elena Vesnina celebrates

Russian Elena Vesnina earned arguably the biggest win of her career to knock out French Open semi-finalist Dominika Cibulkova to reach the last 16 after a titantic duel on Court 18.

22-year-old Vesnina, ranked 37th in the world, eventually got the better of the 20-year-old No. 14 seed, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in a match lasting three hours and three minutes.

An ecstatic Vesnina, who equalled her Grand Slam best, having also reached the fourth round of the 2006 Australian Open, said afterwards: “I am so happy. Wimbledon is something special. I love this tournament because of the tradition and the atmosphere.

“You always want to do well here and enjoy it because it is the most popular tournament in the world. I’m delighted with my game and my coach is even happier than me.”

Vesnina's win set up a battle of the Russian Elenas in the fourth round with last year's semi-finalist Elena Dementieva lying in wait.

But Vesnina had to show tremendous character to come back from a nightmare start. Cibulkova, who beat Gisela Dulko, Agnes Szavay and Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros, raced to a 3-0 lead. Vesnina battled back and, thanks to some terrific returns, won the next two games. Cibulkova’s game faltered at the end of the first set as Vesnina won nine points in a row to take it. This included a terrific backhand shot from the Russian to break Cibulka to love at 5-5.

It looked as if Vesnina would stroll through the second set as she took Cibulkova’s serve apart, taking a 3-1 lead. But the Slovakian had other ideas and won a gruelling fifth game in which both players wowed the large crowd.

Cibulkova went on to take the set 6-4 and it looked as if Vesnina’s hopes might have gone, especially when she called the trainer to help with a persistent back problem. But the high standard remained and the Russian upped the tempo further in the third set.

In the seventh game, she broke the Cibulkova serve at just the right time and was able to close out the match. She sank to her knees in jubilation after finally sealing victory. “It felt so good,” she said. “I was so excited and was thinking ‘this is just a normal match, it’s not Wimbledon, just serve your good serve’ and I took a risk by serving and volley.

“It was a great match for the crowd. We had a lot of rallies and serve and volley and running from one side to the other.”

Court 18 - Ladies' Singles - 3rd Round
Dominika Cibulkova SVK (14)564
Elena Vesnina RUS Winner746

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