Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)
Head-to-Head: Tsurenko leads 3-2
The first women’s semifinal will see Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko take on Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, in a matchup of battle tested WTA Tour veterans. The pair has faced off five times previously, with Tsurenko holding a slim 3-2 advantage. With each player putting together impressive weeks in the desert and well-acquainted with each other’s game, fans at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden should be in for a tremendous match on Saturday.
Tsurenko was the first advance on Friday, downing Russia’s Olga Danilovic 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Court 2. The World No. 152 has been impressive throughout the week, overcoming a slew of worthy competitors including Danielle Lao, Varvara Gracheva and Katie Boulter.
“I was just telling myself to stay in the match and keep fighting, and that really helped me work through the match after the opening set” noted the Ukrainian after dropping the initial frame 2-6 to Danilovic on Friday. “The conditions are very specific here in the desert, so it’s been a lot of up and down play in my matches, but I feel I’m getting used to it now.”
Facing the Romanian Begu will present an entirely different challenge. In her own quarterfinal matchup, Begu took on Oracle Challenger Series veteran Jessica Pegula. While most in attendance anticipated a close match to come, the four-time WTA titlist made quick work of the American with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph in under two hours of match time.
With eight career WTA titles between the Begu and Tsurenko, make sure to tune in on Saturday for this highly anticipated semifinal clash.
(13) Misaki Doi (JPN) vs. Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Head-to-Head: first meeting
In their first career head-to-head matchup, the second women’s semifinal will also feature two international competitors, in Japan’s Misaki Doi and Russia’s Vera Zvonareva. Their resumes are a stark contrast, as Doi has one WTA title while Zvonareva’s storied career includes accolades such as being a former World No. 2 and the 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion.
Surprisingly, Doi is now ranked 233 spots ahead of the Russian and has another opportunity to improve with a career-defining performance in the desert. After thrilling the crowds on Friday with a nearly three-hour match against Yanina Wickmayer on Court 4, Doi eventually emerged victorious 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3).
For Zvonareva, the 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion, she’s brought back the vintage form that got her to No. 2 in the world throughout the week, including taking out No.1 seed Katerina Siniakova. With twelve career WTA titles as well as multiple finals appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open, Saturday’s semifinal will be just another day at the office for the Russian.
If she plays like she did in her quarterfinal match against tournament No. 5 seed Laura Siegemund, in which she downed the German in an exciting 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 affair, she’ll be tough to beat for any of the remaining players in the women’s field.