Elena Vesnina denied Venus Williams another great escape, beating the seven-time Grand Slam champion 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells.
The Swiss advanced to his first final four at Indian Wells, where he will meet 21st seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who was also extended to a third-set decider in his 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (4) win over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.
She trailed 4-2 in that set but again won four successive games to win a match lasting just over three hours.
"I tried my best to fight for every point, Karolina is one of the best players, she played so well and I had to put in a performance", she said on BT Sport 1.
The 23-year-old Frenchwoman improved to 16-5 on the season, a run which includes her first career title in St. Petersburg, and an appearance in the final earlier this month in Acapulco.
Arguably, the Russian's best performance to date was in the fourth round against two-time Grand Slam champion and soon-to-be world number one Angelique Kerber.
The duo have met on two previous occasions on the WTA Tour, with Kuznetsova winning the most recent encounter, a straight sets triumph in the semi-finals of the WTA Estoril in 2014.
Sock, meanwhile, is moving on to the semifinal after he defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 Friday afternoon.
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"In the first set she was a little bit slow, missed some easy balls".
"I guess I'm on fire", Vesnina said.
Vesnina has done well to reach the final in Indian Wells which was certainly unexpected. "I feel like I'm playing some great tennis right now". "Too many unforced errors, especially in the third to give him too many chances to break".
The physical and emotional strain of the draining first set took a toll on Vesnina in the second.
"I was very frustrated with the beginning of the match". I was not thinking about the final.
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 needed a match like this".
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.