French Open: Elena Vesnina survives tough challenge from Varvara Lepchenko

Prevailing in three sets, Elena Vesnina progressed to the third round of the French Open after defeating Varvara Lepchenko. This win also sealed her second successive three-set victories.

French Open: Elena Vesnina survives tough challenge from Varvara Lepchenko
Elena Vesnina progresses to the third round | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina
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Varvara Lepchenko

Elena Vesnina earned yet another tough win at the French Open as she managed to beat the tricky left-hander Varvara Lepchenko in the second round of the competition, triumphing in three sets despite being one point away from trailing a set and a break at one point in time. Slowly getting back her confidence with each match win, Vesnina now progresses to the third round after winning her first back-to-back matches since triumphing in Indian Wells.

Lepchenko steals the first set

Vesnina had the perfect start to the match as she carried over the momentum from her impressive and confidence-boosting victory over the dangerous qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia in the opening round of the competition where she triumphed in three sets. Looking solid in that match, the Russian held her serve to 15 as she put in some solid serves to grab that opening service game of hers.

Nevertheless, Lepchenko soon followed suit as her left-handed serve brought her some advantages, leveling the scores at one game all. Surprisingly, it was the American who almost managed to make the first breakthrough as she came up with some great returns to the vulnerable second serve of Vesnina, earning two break points in the fifth game.

Elena Vesnina in action at the BNP Paribas Open | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina in action at the BNP Paribas Open | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

However, the Russian came up with some powerful serves to fend off those break points, narrowly holding onto her service game. It was Vesnina who then had an opportunity to break in the next game as she managed to get to deuce, but was unable to earn by break points. The first break of serve finally arrived upon us as the Russian looked inconsistent on her serve, allowing Lepchenko to take the lead.

Nevertheless, the higher-ranked player came up with some impressive returns in the next game and managed to make an immediate reply as she broke straight back to level the scores. The 14th seed was still unable to find any good first serves in as she was broken for the second consecutive time. This time, the American was able to consolidate the break at the crucial moment as she came up with some powerful groundstrokes to seal the first set 6-4 after 42 minutes of play.

Varvara Lepchenko in action against Petkovic | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Varvara Lepchenko in action against Petkovic | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Vesnina mounts the comeback

Vesnina started to go on a comeback trail in the second set as she looked determined to send the match into a deciding set. A string of service holds followed as both players looked unthreatened on their serves and neither were able to make any breakthrough in their return games. The first break point of the set finally came in the fifth game as Lepchenko had the golden opportunity to extend her lead, but she failed to convert her opportunity as Vesnina remained composed at the nervy moments, eventually holding her serve to remain level.

The miss of the break point proved to be costly for Lepchenko after the Russian broke for just the second time in the match and took the lead in the second set. Consolidating the break of serve, Vesnina soon found herself just one game away from leveling the match. The Russian did not disappoint, comfortably serving out the set to 15 as she looked poised to get that win after gaining the momentum.

Varvara Lepchenko in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Varvara Lepchenko in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Vesnina strolls to the victory

With Lepchenko taking a lengthy bathroom break at the end of the set, Vesnina took the time and used it to the maximum, practicing her serves during the same period of time. It proved to be helpful as she managed to stay warm through the pause, and broke serve in the opening game of the final set to take the early. With the momentum running in her, Vesnina got through a tough game to consolidate the break and looked on course for the victory.

Elena Vesnina would be glad with her win | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Elena Vesnina would be glad with her win | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

The Russian continued to stroll through the final set when she relied on some strong returns and confident play to break serve once more, taking a double break advantage. Despite putting on some tough resistance and earning a break point, Lepchenko was unable to mount a comeback as Vesnina continued to play some of her peak tennis, consolidating the break for a comfortable 4-0 lead. Eventually, the Russian eased to the victory when she successfully served out the match after 2 hours and 4 minutes of play, taking the win and advancing to the third round for just the second time in her entire career.


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