Carla Suarez Navarro earned her fourth victory over Elena Vesnina in as many tries as she maintained her perfect record against the Russian at the French Open, progressing to the fourth round in Paris for the fifth time in her career.
Suarez Navarro steals the first set
Vesnina had the best possible start to the match as she relied on some strong serves and a couple of forehand winners to grab a tight service hold in the opening game, looking very solid early on. Getting a 15-30 lead in her first return game, a break of serve looked likely as she was efficient in attacking the vulnerable serves of Suarez Navarro, forcing errors from the Spaniard with some deep groundstrokes. However, it was from then on when Vesnina started to commit a load of unforced errors and allowed Suarez Navarro to take advantage of them, making the first breakthrough.
The Spaniard first broke serve in the third game, where the Russian lost a 40-30 lead as Suarez Navarro came up with some solid groundstrokes, outhitting Vesnina from the baseline to take the early lead. Easily consolidating the break, Suarez Navarro extended her lead even further as she broke serve for the second straight time, with Vesnina throwing in two double faults as a result of trying to send in some risky yet powerful second serves.
Nevertheless, some excellent returns from the Russian immediately got her one of the breaks back to lessen the deficit and put her back in the running to win the set once again. Her run continued when she fended off a break point in the next game and earned the golden opportunity to return level after going up 0-30 in Suarez Navarro’s service game, but hit four consecutive errors to gift the tight service hold to the Spaniard, which put her just one game away from winning the first set. Suarez Navarro did not disappoint, eventually serving out the set comfortably to 15 after 43 minutes of play.
Suarez Navarro takes the win
Suarez Navarro had a disappointing start to the second set as she hit three forehand unforced errors and saw Vesnina get the confidence-boosting service hold in the opening game. With some incredible offensive play, Vesnina then unexpectedly got the first breakthrough in the set as she broke serve to earn a 2-0 lead.
Looking on course to consolidate the break, Vesnina led 30-0 before hitting four consecutive unforced errors to throw away the advantage, allowing Suarez Navarro to return on serve all of a sudden. The fifth game was an absolute marathon which lasted 18 minutes, with Vesnina saving a massive seven break points and held her nerves to hold serve, remaining on serve.
The next couple of games were a disaster for the Russian as Suarez Navarro won eight of the next 10 points to take the lead in the second set for the first time, looking poised to close the match out in straight sets. Despite being plagued with a possible injury which saw her call a medical time-out before serving out the match for, Suarez Navarro sealed the win after saving a break point in the last game as she narrowly held her serve to get the huge victory after 1 hour and 43 minutes of play.