No.4 seed Yaroslava Shvedova has gone down to Russian Elena Vesnina 6-4 2-6 1-6 this afternoon.
Shvedova’s exit means that just two of the tournament’s seeded players remain in the draw. Earlier today, No. 2 seed Sorana Cirstea was sent packing by American qualifier Lauren Davis.
The match between Vesnina and Schvedova was highly anticipated with the pair meeting just last week at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where Vesnina prevailed 6-2 6-3.
In this encounter it was Shvedova, the Russian born Kazakhstani, who had the better of the first set, capturing an early break to lead 2-0. Vesnina then fought back to level at 3-3 in what was set to be a tight match. The turning point of the first set came at 4-4 when Vesnina double faulted to lend Shvedova a crucial break, allowing her to capture the first set 6-4.
The momentum shifted early in the second with Vesnina racing to a 3-0 lead before a lengthy rain delay saw play suspended for up to 20 minutes. After play resumed both players appeared to struggle with gusty winds but it was Vesnina who made the best of the difficult conditions, taking the second set 6-2.
In the third Vesnina ran away with the match, taking the final set 6-1 to beat Schvedova for the second time in as many weeks.
A quarterfinalist at the Hobart International in 2008, Vesnina was pleased with her win.
“We played last week in Auckland, I know that she’s a very dangerous player and to beat her twice in a row I think it’s difficult to do,” she said.
Despite good showings in the first two rounds of the tournament the 26-year-old world No.68 considers herself lucky just to be in the main draw.
“I’m just thinking match by match cause it’s a very strong tournament this year. I’m the last one who got in the main draw, I was shocked I almost didn’t get in, everybody has chances to win it this year which is very good for the tournament,” she said.
Vesnina will meet either Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova or Belarusian Olga Govortsova in the quarter finals.
By Nick Cuthbertson.