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WTA Players

Elena Vesnina

RU Russia
Friday, August 1, 1986
Lvov, Ukraine
Sochi, Russia
5 ft 7 3/4 in (176 cm)
132 lb (60 kg)
Turned pro: 

Elena Sergejevna Vesnina (born Lviv, August 1, 1986) is a professional female tennis player from Russia.

Career Summary

Although she had never yet won a WTA singles title or progressed beyond the semi-final stage at WTA level as of April 2008, Vesnina has advanced as high as World No. 41 in the WTA world rankings, has reached the fourth round of one Grand Slam (the Australian Open, 2006) and the third round of two others (The Championships, Wimbledon, 2007 and the Australian Open, 2008), the fourth round of one Tier I WTA event (Miami, 2008) and the third round of another (Miami, 2006), the third round of two Tier II WTA events (Amelia Island, 2006 and again in 2008), five Tier III WTA quarter-finals, two Tier IV WTA semifinals (Forest Hills, 2007 and Tashkent, 2007), three Tier IV WTA quarterfinals, three ITF $75,000 semifinals, and three ITF $50,000 quarter-finals, and has won one ITF $25,000 title and one ITF $10,000 title outright.

She has recorded victories over Top-30 ranked players eleven times in her career to date, with wins over Marion Bartoli, Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Li Na, Daniela Hantuchova, Katarina Srebotnik, Agnes Szavay, Patty Schnyder, and Anabel Medina Garrigues (twice), while they have been currently ranked in the world Top 30.

She is now working with George Akopian who once helped to bring Evgenia Linetskaya up to the WTA World Top 35.

Playing style

Vesnina is a baseliner who is also proficient at net and can finish rallies from there after getting her opponent out of position. She emphasizes ball placement and strategy. Vesnina's biggest weakness is her serve—Vesnina often double faults once or twice per game in her matches.


In October 2002, aged sixteen years and two months, she gained direct entry into the qualifying draw for her first $10,000 tournament at Giza, Egypt, and succeeded in qualifying for the main draw before losing a close three-set match.

The very next week, she stayed in Egypt to enter qualifying for the tournament at Al-Mansoura, and again won through both rounds of qualifying to the main draw, where she won two further matches in straight sets, beating Hana Sromova of the Czech Republic in Round Two, to reach her first ever $10,000 quarter-final in just her second event played. However, she then defaulted her quarter-final tie to her opponent.

Two events played were not enough to establish her properly on the rankings computer, and she did not compete again for the next three months, but in February 2003 she entered qualifying in two successive $10,000 events in India at Chennai and Bangalore, and not only succeeded in qualifying both times, but also reached her first semi-final and another quarter-final in the main draws, notably losing to future star Akgul Amanmuradova at the quarter-final stage at Bangalore.

These results elevated her from nowhere to World No. 750, enough for her to gain direct entry to her next $10,000 draw at Istanbul in the last week of March, where she beat her personal best result in reaching the final.

The following week, at Antalya, still in Turkey, she was knocked out in the first round by her then-compatriot Evgenia Linetskaya; and in May she met with mixed results in Lviv, Ukraine and Warsaw, Poland; but in June she claimed her career-first $10,000 title at Balashikha, Russia, without dropping a set.

After reaching her third ITF final at Bucharest in August, she made her first attempt to qualify for a $25,000 event at Zhukovsky, Russia, and succeeded, then won through all the way to the semi-final of the main draw with a tight three-set quarter-final victory over compatriot Ekaterina Bychkova en route, 6–7 6–4 6–4, but was stopped in straight sets in the semifinals by Alona Bondarenko of the Ukraine.

In the middle of September, she qualified for her second straight $25,000 tournament at Tbilisi, Georgia, and this time won the title, recording victories over Evgenia Linetskaya, Olga Barabanschikova of Belarus, and Mariya Koryttseva of the Ukraine, in the quarter-final, semi-final and final rounds respectively.

This run of form had elevated her most rapidly to World No. 269, and she next tried her hand at qualifying for two WTA Tour main draws. But she was defeated in the first round of qualifying for the Tier I event at Moscow in late September by Michaela Pastikova of the Czech Republic, and comprehensively demolished in the second round of qualifying for the Tier IV event at Tashkent, Uzbekistan by Adriana Barna of Germany in early October.

She did not play another event for the rest of the year, but finished it ranked No. 279 and with an enviable 34-10 win-loss record to her credit for the year.


Returning her attention in late January to attempting to qualify for higher-level events after a brief, unsuccessful diversion back to the $25,000 arena, she was knocked out in the first round of qualifying for the $75,000 ITF event at Ortisei, Italy by veteran Rita Kuti Kis of Hungary in three sets, and at the same first hurdle for the Tier IV WTA event at Hyderabad, India in mid-February by former Top 40 Austrian star Barbara Schwartz, 3–6 6–7.

But in March she found a happy medium in the shape of a $50,000 event at St. Petersburg, winning through three rounds of qualifying in straight sets to reach her career-first main draw at this level or higher, and then defeating compatriot Anastasia Rodionova in the first round proper on her way to a quarter-final finish, where she was defeated by Ivana Lisjak of Croatia 5–7 3–6.

She next played in June, and entered qualifying for her second $50,000 draw at Marseille, France ranked 273, fractionally below her personal best. On this occasion, she was defeated in the qualifying round, but was granted entry to the main draw as a lucky loser, and there won one further match before bowing out to No. 1 seed and then World No. 70 Lubomira Kurhajcova in straight sets despite taking the second to a close tie-break.

Further breakthroughs continued to elude her for the next few months, though she reached another two $25,000 quarter-finals at Moscow in late August (defeating upcoming compatriot Evgeniya Rodina in a close three-set battle before losing to another fellow-Russian Maria Kondriateva in the quarter-finals) and at Balashikha, Russia in early September (where she avenged her recent defeat by Kondriateva and put-paid to future Top-100 star Ekaterina Makarova in the first two rounds before losing to Anastasiya Yakimova of [[Belarus).

Late in September, as a direct main-draw entrant into the $50,000 tournament at Batumi, Georgia, she equalled her career-best result in reaching the quarter-finals, where she lost to No. 1 seed and World No. 93 Anna Chakvetadze, 4–6 5–7.

By the middle of October, her ranking had slipped to World No. 320, but she attempted for the second successive year to qualify for the Tier I WTA event at Moscow, but was knocked out at the second hurdle by World No. 61 Claudine Schaul of Luxembourg in a topsy-turvy match, 7–5 1–6 0–6.

It was to be in November that her next career-breakthrough would at last arrive, as she succeeded for the first time in winning through qualifying into a WTA Tour main draw at the Tier III event in Québec City, Canada, knocking out higher-ranked players Katerina Bondarenko of the Ukraine and Jarmila Gajdosova, who then represented Slovakia, to achieve this. But in the first round of the main draw, she could only take home a learning experience from Argentine star and World No. 112 Mariana Diaz-Oliva, who defeated her with the loss of just five games.

Paradoxically, she found herself reverted to having to qualify for her next $25,000 event at Opole, Poland, and despite succeeding in reaching the main draw suffered a disappointing three-set loss to Hana Sromova in the second-round.

But she finished the year in December by reaching her third career $50,000 quarter-final at Bergamo, Italy, losing to Estonian star Maret Ani in a very close three-setter, 6–4 6–7 3–6.

In ending the year world ranked No. 286, she had not made any net gains on her position a year previously on the computer, but had clocked up a win-loss record of 27-17 and some worthwhile experience at higher tournament levels that would stand her in good stead for later breakthroughs.


Resuming her attempt to make headway in WTA Tour main draws in mid-February, she next entered qualifying for the Tier III event at Memphis, but lost in straight sets to Varvara Lepchenko of Uzbekistan.

The following week, she entered the $50,000 ITF tournament at St. Paul, Minnesota, but was forced to play the qualifying draw, where she lost in the second round to a little-known lower-ranked player from Belarus.

Further disappointment in the first round of the main draw of a $25,000 event at St. Petersburg late in March left her ranking sliding again; and she was forced to qualify for her next $25,000 tournament at Civitavecchia, Italy in April. This having been achieved, she proceeded to reach her first $25,000 semifinal since September 2003, with wins over World No. 155 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic and fellow-Czech World No. 220 Lucie Hradecka, before she was stopped in the semi-finals by Maret Ani in three sets, 3–6 6–3 3–6.

In May, she entered qualifying for the Tier II event at Warsaw, and avenged her previous defeat by Adriana Barna, knocking her out 6–3 7–6, but then fell again to Anna Chakvetadze, 6–7 4–6, in the second round of the qualifying draw.

A couple of weeks later, she suffered a disappointing first-round loss to Olivia Sanchez of France in the first round of a $25,000 event at Antalya, Turkey, 3–6 0–6.

But the following week she bounced back to qualify for her second career WTA main draw in the Tier III event at Istanbul, and then defeated a Turkish wildcard to reach the second round proper before losing to American star Mashona Washington 5–7 1–6. On paper, this was her career-best performance to date, since she had never previously won a WTA Tour main draw match. It cannot have been as satisfying for her to have achieved this milestone against a local wildcard as it would have been against a player qualified to compete in the main draw of such an event, but it nonetheless helped to propel her ranking upwards thirty places to a career-high of World No. 217.

Returning in June to the ITF $25,000 level, she reached the final of an event at Galatina, Italy without dropping a set, defeating higher-ranked Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus on the way there, before losing the title tie to Mariya Koryttseva, whom she had previously beaten.

At her next two ITF tournaments in early July, she failed to win a main-draw match, notably losing in three-sets to similarly-ranked compatriot Lioudmila Skavronskaia in the first round of the $50,000 event at Cuneo, Italy.

But later that month she succeeded in qualifying for her third career WTA main draw at Modena, Italy, a Tier IV event, with back-to-back wins over Tatiana Poutchek, and Ukranians Olga Savchuk and Yulia Beygelzimer; and in first round of the main draw she cruised past a low-ranked special entrant from Slovenia before being ousted by Italian World No. 28 Flavia Pennetta in Round Two, 6–7 2–6.

The very next week, she won through qualifying into a WTA main draw for the fourth time at Palermo, Italy, with wins over Lubomira Kurhajcova, Ekaterina Dzehalevich of Belarus, and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, but once more Maret Ani was too good for her in the first round of the main draw, dispatching her 7–6 6–3.

In mid-August, she was denied entry to her fifth WTA main draw at Stockholm, a Tier IV event, by World No. 132 Emma Laine of Finland, who defeated her comfortably in the end, 6–4 6–0, in the qualifying round. And the following week, in the qualifying draw for Toronto, a Tier I event, she first thrashed Swiss perennial and World No. 110 Emmanuelle Gagliardi 6–2 6–2, but then was ousted by Japanese world No. 93 Rika Fujiwara in three sets, 6–3 3–6 3–6.

In September, she entered qualifying for a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career, and defeated familiar compatriot Maria Kondratieva in the first round of the qualifying draw, but was then squarely dismissed by upcoming New Zealander Marina Erakovic, 2–6 1–6.

Nonetheless, her ranking had recently improved to World No. 166 thanks to her first tastes of WTA success, and this was sufficient to award her direct entry to a $75,000 draw for the first time in her career at Denain, France, a couple of days later. She defeated three lower-ranked opponents including Jarmila Gajdosova in straight sets to achieve her career-best performance at $50,000 level or higher, in reaching the semi-finals, only then to suffer a close three-set defeat to Spanish No. 1 seed and World No. 105 Arantxa Parra Santonja, 4–6 6–4 3–6.

Staying in France the following week, she gained direct entry to her second straight $75,000 event, this time at Bordeaux, and again won through to the semi-finals, defeating higher-ranked German Sabine Klaschka and higher-ranked Italian Nathalie Vierin en route, in addition to Tatiana Poutchek. But she was denied progress to the final by French World No. 137 Stephanie Foretz.

Elevated further by these performances to World No. 144, she attained direct entry to a WTA Tour main draw for the first time in her career at Tashkent, Uzbekistan in October, and defeated her compatriot Anastasia Rodionova followed by Israeli star Tzipora Obziler before losing for the second straight time in her career to Akgul Amanmuradova in the quarter-finals. But in reaching the quarter-finals of a WTA Tour main draw with victories over two properly-qualified opponents, she had definitively surpassed her previous career-best performance at WTA Tour level, although in this case it was only a Tier IV event.

The following week, for the third successive year, she entered qualifying for the Tier I event at Moscow, and once more she failed to attain the main draw, this time losing at the first hurdle to Alona Bondarenko, 1–6 6–7.

But at the end of the month, ranked at a career-best World No. 129, she won through qualifying into a WTA Tier II event for the first time in her career at Linz, Austria, by first defeating Kathrin Woerle of Germany and Emmanuelle Gagliardi (who was now World No. 98), and then trouncing Kateryna Bondarenko 6–1 6–1 in the qualifying round. In the main draw, however, she came out the loser in a very tight clash against Austrian Tamira Paszek, 6–7 6–1 5–7.

In November, as a direct entrant into the Tier III event at Québec City, Canada, she advanced to the quarter-finals with close straight-sets wins over two higher-ranked opponents in the shape of World No. 109 Séverine Brémond of France and World No. 66 Antonella Serra Zanetti of Italy, thereby setting a new career-best personal performance at WTA level, but then lost to 75th-ranked Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6–2 4–6 1–6.

In the next two weeks, she came unstuck in early rounds of ITF events, losing to Emma Laine 1–6 4–6 in the first round of the $75,000 draw at Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and then to Estonian Kaia Kanepi 2–6 4–6 in the second round of the $50,000 tournament at Deauville, France, despite having finally broken her duck against Akgul Amanmuradova in the first round of the French event with a hard-fought 6–7 6–3 7–5 victory.

But at the $75,000 event at Poitiers, France in the final week of November, world-ranked No. 112, she advanced to her third career semi-final at this level with straight-sets wins over French World No. 40 Marion Bartoli and World No. 96 Stephanie Foretz, before succumbing to 95th-ranked Ukrainian Viktoriya Kutuzova 4–6 6–3 4–6.

She did not play in December, but finished the year with a 44-25 win-loss record to her credit, and a solid year-on-year gain of 175 places on the ranking computer to World No. 111, placing her within touching distance of the World Top 100.


Beginning the new season early in January in Australia, she was narrowly defeated by Puerto Rican World No. 157 Vilmarie Castellvi in three sets, 4–6 6–2 6–7, in the first round of the qualifying draw for the Tier III event at Gold Coast, and then squarely beaten by Spanish World No. 49 Nuria Llagostera Vives as a direct entrant into the first round of the main draw of the Tier IV contest at Hobart the following week.

But a couple of weeks later, buoyed slightly by random fluctuations in the WTA rankings list to World No. 100 despite not yet having won a match since the year began, she was awarded direct entry into her first ever Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open, and capitalised on the opportunity presented by a relatively lenient draw in the first three rounds to race through into Round Four with defeats of qualifiers Li Ting of China and on-form Olga Savchuk of the Ukraine (5–7 6–2 6–4) in the first and third rounds respectively, and a routing of World No. 80 Julia Schruff of Germany in Round Two, 6–0 7–5. But the challenge presented by her fourth round opponent, fellow-Russian World No. 7 Nadia Petrova, was a step too high for her, as her more experienced compatriot defeated her for the loss of just four games.

Nonetheless, the ranking points accrued in the course of this successful Grand Slam début were sufficient to advance her to World No. 74 on the computer, affording her direct entry to her next two WTA draws, which took the forms of the Tier III event at Bangalore, India in February and the Tier I tournament at Indian Wells, California in March. Unfortunately for Vesnina, she was vanquished in straight sets by lower-ranked opponents in the first rounds of both contests, losing to Australian World No. 127 Nicole Pratt at Bangalore and to World No. 86 Viktoriya Kutuzova of the Ukraine at Indian Wells.

Her next breakthrough came in early April when, as a direct entrant to the Tier I event at Miami, she scored back-to-back straight-sets victories over Top 50-ranked players in the forms of World No. 50 Emilie Loit of France and World No. 11 Francesca Schiavone of Italy, the latter of whom she dispatched for the loss of just five games. But French rising star and World No. 24 Tatiana Golovin put a stop to her in Round Three by the same margin, 6–2 6–3.

The following week, as a direct entrant to the Tier II event at Amelia Island, Florida, she practically equalled her performance at Miami with successive wins over Top 50-ranked players in the forms of World No. 43 Virginie Razzano of France (whom she edged out in a tight three-set match, 7–5 3–6 6–3) and World No. 19 Flavia Pennetta of Italy (whom she dismissed for the loss of only three games). But she came unstuck against a resurgent veteran in the shape of experienced Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual in another close three-set bout, 4–6 6–3 4–6.

The week after, playing in the Tier I event at Charleston, South Carolina, she again came out the loser in a three-setter, this time against experienced fellow-Russian star Vera Zvonareva, who took the match 6–4 5–7 6–2.

In May, retreating to a lower-level Tier IV event at Estoril, Portugal, she was surprised again to encounter Pennetta, the highest ranked player in the draw, in the first round; and this time the Italian wrought her revenge in the third set tie-break of a very evenly-tied match that ran 2–6 6–2, 6–7.

Further disappointment followed the next week at the Tier I Berlin Open, where despite being ranked at a career-high World No. 59 she first had to qualify because of an unusually competitive entry field, and although she managed this with ease, she then proceeded to lose in straight sets in the first round proper to Czech player Kveta Peschke, who was then ranked World No. 48.

By the end of the month, her ranking had slipped to World No. 69. Then, as a direct entrant to the Tier III tournament at Strasbourg, France, she encountered fierce resistance in the first round from upcoming Italian World No. 249 Karin Knapp, but finally defeated her 1–6 6–3 7–6 to book her place in the second round, where she made light work of French World No. 27 Marion Bartoli for the second time in her career, this time dismissing her 6–1 6–1. In the quarter-finals, clay-court expert and World No. 28 Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain had the better of their joust, taking it 6–2 6–4.

Early in June, world-ranked 64th, she was knocked out in the first round in her first appearance at the French Open by 51st-ranked Chinese star Peng Shuai, 2–6 2–6.

Later that month, she entered two successive Tier III events on the grass-court circuit, at Birmingham, England and S'Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, and in both cases could win just one round before losing to higher-ranked players. At the English event, she defeated Virginie Razzano in three sets, 6–3 3–6 6–0 but then lost to Italian World No. 39 Mara Santangelo 3–6 3–6. At the Dutch tournament, she conquered Julia Schruff 6–2 6–3 before losing what turned into a very close bout with World No. 8 Elena Dementieva, 1–6 6–4 4–6.

In July, entering The Championships, Wimbledon world-ranked No. 63, she recovered from a set down to fend off Spanish World No. 75 Maria Sanchez Lorenzo in the first round, and then in Round Two she engaged in a protracted assault on the game of 34th-ranked emerging fellow-Russian star Anna Chakvetadze, but ultimately ceded the match to her higher-ranked compatriot 4–6 6–3 3–6.

In August, entering the Tier I event at San Diego, California world-ranked No. 51, Vesnina put out German World No. 16 Anna-Lena Groenefeld in three sets in the first round, 3–6 6–3 6–3, but then lost a very close tussle with Finland's World No. 63 Emma Laine in Round Two, 7–6 6–7 4–6.

Staying in California the following week for the Tier II tournament at Los Angeles, now world-ranked at a new career-high of 49th, she at first defeated fellow Russian World No. 78 Vasilisa Bardina, but then lost a close two-set match to American World No. 77 Meghann Shaughnessy, 6–7 3–6.

Her most disappointing result of the year followed the next week, as she was dismissed in straight sets in the first round of the qualifying draw for the highly competitively-subscribed Tier I event at Montreal by an opponent ranked over 200 places below her, Neha Uberoi of the United States.

A week later, entering the Tier IV tournament at Forest Hills world-ranked 45th, after receiving a first-round bye, she knocked out World No. 38 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6–1 6–4 in Round Two before losing for the second time that month to Shaugnessy, 2–6 5–7, at the quarter-final stage.

In September, in her first appearance at the US Open, she was drawn to play World No. 14 Mary Pierce in the first round, and lost to her 5–7 1–6.

Later that month, as she entered the Tier II event held in Beijing, China, her ranking had slipped to 54th. In the first round, she at last wreaked revenge upon Emma Laine after a lengthy struggle, 7–6 5–7 6–3, but then in the second she fell in three sets to Chinese World No. 23 Li Na, 6–3 1–6 1–6.

A string of three further moderate second-round finishes in successive weeks followed in the earlier part of October.

First, at Guangzhou, China, a Tier III event, she defeated Estonian World No. 86 Kaia Kanepi in the the first round, 6–1 3–6 6–1, but then lost to veteran Israeli Tzipora Obziler in Round Two, 6–4 3–6 3–6.

Next, at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, a tier IV fixture, she narrowly prevailed in a tough first-round tie against Chinese qualifier Sun Shengnan, 0–6 7–5 6–2, but then lost to emerging Ukrainian talent Kateryna Bondarenko, then World No. 113, 6–3 4–6 4–6, in Round Two.

Thirdly, in the Tier I tournament at Moscow, she avenged her recent defeat by Li Na (now world No. 20] in an extremely close battle, 6–2 1–6 7–6 (13-11), after recovering from 0–5 down in the final set, before facing World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo for the first time. She gave the French superstar a run for her money in a match that ran to a final-set tie-break, but it was Mauresmo who ultimately prevailed 5–7 6–3 7–6 (7–3).

Entering the Tier II fixture at Linz, Austria at the end of the month world-ranked 48th, she found herself having to qualify after the entry field was very heavily subscribed with high-ranked players. She managed this without dropping a set, notably avenging her recent defeat by Kateryna Bondarenko in the first round of the qualifying draw, 6–4 6–4, and scoring a solid victory over Virginie Razzano in the qualifying round, 6–3 6–1. In the first round of the main draw, she was 4–3 up in the first set of her match against World No. 16 Daniela Hantuchova whtn the Slovak star retired. World No. 12 and future Top-5 star Jelena Jankovic of Serbia awaited her in Round Two, and although Vesnina won the first set on a tie-break, it was Jankovi? who would emerge victorious in three, 6–7 6–4 6–2.

Boosted on the ranking computer by this performance to a career-best-equalling World No. 44, she entered a Tier III tournament at Hasselt, Belgium the following week, but had to retire during the first set of her first-round draw against local favourite Kirsten Flipkens.

After a season of mixed fortunes that saw her win 25 matches and lose 26, though one in which she played WTA Tour-level events exclusively for the first time in her career, cracked the World Top 50, and scored her career-first victories over Top-20-ranked players, the young Russian finished the year still ranked 44th in the world, up 67 places year-on-year.


Returning to Australia in early January, Vesnina this time gained direct entry into the main draw at the Tier III Gold Coast event, and capitalised by notching up successive comfortable straight sets victories over Italian World No. 50 Maria Elena Camerin in Round One and Slovenian World No. 23 Katarina Srebotnik in Round Two, before falling to another Italian, World No. 38 Tathiana Garbin, in the quarter-finals, 5–7 2–6.

At Hobart the following week, ranked a career-high World No. 42, she was somewhat crushingly defeated in the first round by Anabel Medina Garrigues, 1–6 3–6.

On her return to the Australian Open later that month, ranked just one place higher at World No. 41, she faced a much tougher draw than the previous year. Coming up against Medina Garrigues again in the first round, she this time succeeded in turning the tables on her with a 6–7 6–1 6–1 victory. But in Round Two she had the tables turned on her instead by an opponent she had recently defeated, Maria Elena Camerin, who this time came out the victor in a very close three-set match, 4–6 6–3 8–6.

Her failure to defend the ranking points achieved in her run to the fourth round on her Grand Slam début a year previously dipped her ranking back outside the Top 50 to World No. 54, and she then proceeded to suffer a string of disappointing first round exits over the remainder of the Winter season, albeit all against Top 30-ranked players.

Firstly, at the Tier I tournament at Tokyo in early February, she was bundled out by Japanese World No. 26 Ai Sugiyama 4–6 2–6.

Next, at the Tier II event at Antwerp, Belgium in mid-February, she lost to compatriot and World No. 11 Dinara Safina, 4–6 1–6.

Then at the Tier II contest in Dubai the following week, she was outplayed by Daniela Hantuchova, 1–6 3–6.

After taking the whole of March off, she returned at Miami in early April ranked World No. 58, but her run of first round exits would continue unabated for another three tournaments despite her being drawn against more moderately-ranked opponents.

To begin with, at Miami, she suffered a rare double bagel at the hands of World No. 40 Peng Shuai.

Then the following week at Amelia Island, she lost in three sets to Colobian World No. 74 Catalina Castano, 7–5 3–6 1–6.

A week later at Charleston, a Tier I event, her ranking having by now slid to World No. 68, she lost in three again, this time to the then World No. 55, her compatriot Vasilisa Bardina, 6–1 3–6 1–6.

The rot finally stopped when she retreated to the ITF circuit for the first time since 2005 at the end of the month to compete in a $100,000 event at Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France, where she put paid to World No. 155 Ivana Lisjak of Croatia in the first round to win her first match in seven events, though the three-set scoreline of 6–4 0–6 6–1 was far from comfortable. But in Round Two she lost another three-setter to Swiss World No. 138 Timea Bacsinszky, 4–6 6–2 2–6.

The following week, at the start of May, she returned to the WTA Tour ranked World No. 70 to enter the Tier II event at Warsaw, Poland, where she survived a strong challenge from a local wildcard, World No. 338 Urszula Radwanska, 2–6 7–6 6–3, before losing in the second round to World No. 7 Jelena Jankovic, 2–6 5–7.

At the Tier I Berlin Open a week later, she suffered a heavy defeat by 65th-ranked Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino at the first hurdle, 2–6 1–6.

And then at Rome the week after that, after finding herself thrown into the qualifying draw since her ranking had fallen beneath the threshold for direct entry, she came up against former Top-10 star Mirjana Lucic of Croatia (who had been awarded a wildcard) in the first round of qualifying, and lost a tight three-set joust to the Croat, 3–6 6–3, 6–2.

In the final week of the month, Vesnina entered the Tier III tournament at Strasbourg, France, and comfortably defeated both World No. 191 Yan Zi of China and Belgian World No. 167 Caroline Maes in straight sets in the first two rounds, before suffering her first ever defeat in three head-to-heads to Marion Bartoli (who was now world-ranked No. 21) at the quarter-final stage, 1–6 6–4 3–6.

At the French Open early in June, she was drawn to play the current World No. 1 Justine Henin of Belgium in the first round, and lost in two relatively close sets, 4–6 3–6.

The following week, she found herself having to qualify to gain entry to the Tier III event at S'Hertogenbosch, and managed to avenge her recent defeat by Timea Bacsinszky in the qualifying round, 7–6 6–1, then scored her first victory over a Top-75-ranked player since January by again defeating Anabel Medina Garrigues (now World No. 24) in the first round of the main draw, 7–6 3–6 6–3. But she was denied further progress in the second round by Angelique Kerber of Germany, losing to her 3–6 3–6.

Entering The Championships, Wimbledon world-ranked 67th in July, she enjoyed a strong start with successive comfortable straight-sets wins over fellow-Russian World No. 32 Olga Poutchkova in the first round and World No. 43 Emilie Loit of France in the second, before once more meeting the World No. 1, Justine Henin, in the third round. This time, she was defeated more comprehensively by Hénin, who took the match 6–1 6–3. But the Russian's form had at least shown signs of recovery from its slump over the late winter and Spring, and her ranking had begun to creep back upwards again from a low of 70th to World No. 58.

Playing later that month at the Tier III tournament at Cincinnati, Ohio, Vesnina reached the quarter-finals with successive straight-sets wins over two currently much-lower ranked players, World No. 166 Angelika Bachmann of Germany and World No. 150 Yuan Meng of China, but then found herself outperformed by World No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze, trailing to her 0–6 1–4 before retiring.

At the Tier IV fixture held at Stockholm in early August, ranked 55th, she defeated Swedish World No. 109 Sofia Arvidsson in straight sets in the first round, but then lost to fast-rising Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki, then ranked 90th, in the second, 5–7 1–6.

At the end of the month, she played another Tier IV event at Forest Hills, New York, and after receiving a first round bye, she began well with straight-sets victories over World No. 68 Séverine Brémond and Japanese World No. 52 Aiko Nakamura to reach her career-first WTA-level semi-final, but then lost heavily to an improved Virginie Razzano, who had by now risen to World No. 36, taking just two games from the Frenchwoman whom she had beaten in all three of their previous head-to-heads.

Entering the US Open ranked 56th early in September, Vesnina was drawn to play World No. 89 Croat Jelena Kostanic Tosic in the first round, but lost to her in straight sets 4–6 2–6.

The following week, representing Russia in the Federation Cup final against Italy, she avenged her straight sets defeat by Mara Santangelo in their only previous meeting, by outplaying the current World No. 34 to win in straight sets herself this time around, 6–2 6–4, although since it was not a WTA event this result did not help her ranking.

Towards the end of the month, the Russian could reach only the second round of the Tier IV event at Portoroz, Slovenia, before she succumbed to Argentine World No. 43 Gisela Dulko 6–7 1–6.

Returning to Tashkent in October ranked 61st in the world, she exceeded her performance of the previous year by reaching the quarter-finals with successive straight-sets victories over Italian World No. 146 Alberta Brianti (6–3 6–4) and Belarussian World No. 96 Tatiana Poutchek (7–5 6–4). Then she progressed one stage further to the semi-finals by prevailing over upcoming Romanian youngster and World No. 60 Ioana Raluca Olaru in three sets, 2–6 7–6 6–4 to advance her career WTA semi-final attainment count to two. But at this stage, fast-rising Belarussian teenager and already then World No. 35 Viktoria Azarenka had much the better of their tie, taking it 6–4 6–2.

At Moscow the following week, she equalled her achievement of the previous year on paper in reaching the second round, though her first-round opponent this time was the much lower-ranked World No. 128 Swiss veteran Emmanuelle Gagliardi. However, Czech World No. 13 Nicole Vaidisova prevented her from advancing to the quarter-finals by defeating her 6–3 6–4.

At the Tier I event at Zurich a week later, world-ranked No. 52, she was forced to enter the qualifying draw, and lost in the first round of qualifying to American Meilen Tu, 5–7 3–6.

And at Linz in the last week of October, she was again thrown into the qualifying draw despite a world ranking of 51, and suffered a loss in the second round of qualifying to German World No. 147 Sandra Kloesel.

She did not play in November or December, and finished the year with a fairly even win-loss record of 24-26, similarly to her outcome in 2006. Her ranking had taken a ten-place knock from No. 44 to No. 54, which could be largely attributed to her failure to defend most of the ranking points she had accrued from her fourth-round finish at the Australian Open in 2006; but she had also suffered some major swings in her level of success during the course of the year, which began for her as strongly as she had left off in the latter months of 2005, then dipped to a prolonged low for several months, before being pulled back up to a relatively even, steady level well-worthy of a player ranked around No. 50 in the world for the remainder of the season.


Back in Australia for the beginning of the new season early in January, Vesnina suffered a poor start with a three-set loss in the first round at Gold Coast to an Australian wildcard then ranked just 158th in the world, Monique Adamczak, 6–7 6–3 5–7.

Having failed to defend the points accrued from her quarter-final finish at Gold Coast a year previously, she found her ranking slipping to 60th. But she mostly made up for it by reaching the quarter-finals at Hobart the following week with back-to-back straight-sets wins over Japanese World No. 48 Akiko Morigami and Nuria Llagostera Vives of Spain. But her quarter-final opponent, World No. 23 Vera Zvonareva, had the better of her 6–3 6–3.

Entering the Australian Open for the third year running, now ranked World No. 55, Vesnina enjoyed a marginally more successful run than she had done in 2007, in reaching the third round with successive wins over World No. 31 Julia Vakulenko of the Ukraine, 6–4 1–6 6–4, and World No. 98 Jill Craybas of the United States, 6–2, 6–4. However, there was no stopping eventual tournament champion Maria Sharapova in Round Three, as she raced away with their match 6–3 6–0.

Vesnina emerged from the tournament world-ranked No. 52. With only 16 ranking points for her to defend between February and April inclusive out of a total of 549 to her credit, she was presented with a strong theoretical opportunity to return to or exceed her pre-existing career-high WTA world ranking of 41st by the beginning of May.

However, her challenge began disappointingly for her at Doha in mid-February with a first-round main-draw loss in straight sets to Japanese World No. 134 Ayumi Morita, 3–6 4–6. Then at the Tier II tournament at Dubai at the end of the month, she was forced to go through the qualifying tournament, where she was defeated in the second round on the final-set tie-break of a very close three-set match by resurgent Chinese player Zheng Jie, whose then-current ranking of World No. 226 reflected her recent absence from the tour resulting from injury. The sum total of the ranking points earned by the Russian in February was just six.

Returning to action in mid-March at the Tier I fixture taking place at Indian Wells, Vesnina could manage only the second round of the main draw after defeating World No. 98 Hsieh Su-Wei of Taipei in a close three-set match in the first, as World No. 10 Marion Bartoli vanquished her 6-0 6-4, levelling up their career head-to-head at two matches all.

Arriving at Miami at the end of March world-ranked 53rd, down one place on the beginning of February, she finally achieved a measure of success for the first time in two months, reaching the fourth round with wins over Russian veteran Elena Likhovtseva (6-4 6-4), Hungarian World No. 18 Agnes Szavay (6-2 4-6 6-1) and improved American World No. 60 Ashley Harkleroad (6-4 5-7 6-4) before succumbing to Belgian World No. 1 Justine Henin 2-6 2-6. The 70 ranking points she earned from this performance lifted her comfortably within the Top 50 again at No. 45, with a total of 638 ranking points, but still left her some 50 points adrift of the current standard required to match her previous best ranking of 41st.

At the Tier II Amelia Island in early April, Vesnina reached the third round after defeating Venezualan star Milagros Sequera 7-6 6-0 and veteran Swiss World No. 12 Patty Schnyder 6-2 2-6 6-2. But then she lost to much-improved French World No. 49 Alizé Cornet 1-6 5-7. As a result, she achieved a net gain of just 25 ranking points to 663, and only one ranking place.

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