Fourteenth seed Elena Vesnina upset Venus Williams 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in their quarter-final of the Indian Wells Masters on Thursday. The 12th seeded American was attempting to roll back the years, by trying to reach her first semi-final in the tournament in 16 years, but could not get past her Russian opponent.

Vesnina raced ahead to a 6-2 lead in the opening set, but there looked to be a comeback from Williams, who levelled the match after taking the second set 6-4. As Vesnina served for the match in the ninth game of the deciding set, it seemed as if there would be another twist in the match, as she faced three break points on her serve. However, the tables never turned in Williams’s favour as Vesnina obliterated each break point before securing the win for herself.

Speaking after the match, Vesnina said, “I know everyone was cheering for Venus. I don’t know how I won that game from 0-40, because she was fighting. She was fighting and fighting every game. It was a very heartbreaking match.”

In the women’s singles semi-final to be played on Friday, Vesnina will face France’s Kristina Mladenovic, who upset the 13th seed Caroline Wozniacki in their last-eight match. The 26th seed won 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 in two hours and 33 minutes.

In the first set, it was the Dane who held the advantage over the Frenchwoman, even to the extent of saving nine break point chances. The players traded breaks of serve thrice in the second set, before it proceeded to the tie-break. And, as Wozniacki’s onslaught started waning, Mladenovic wasted no opportunities to up the ante in the match. She won the tie-break 7-4 to take the match into the final set, where two breaks of serve on the 2011 Indian Wells champion’s gave her the win.

“I was very frustrated with the beginning of my match. [Now] it feels great. I had never beat her in the past. She’s such a great fighter and it’s tough to make winners against her. I’m glad to make the semi-finals here,” the 23-year-old stated post-match.

Top-seeds ousted in women’s doubles

Yung-Jan Chan and Martina Hingis upset the top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova in the women’s doubles semi-finals to become the first team to reach the final of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. The sixth seeds won in straight sets 7-6(7), 7-5 in 119 minutes. They now await the winner between Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Srebotnik, and second seeds Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova in the final.