The 2017 BNP Paribas Open is nearing its conclusion, and the last few matches in Indian Wells, California, shouldn't disappoint.
Not only could fans be treated to a Stan Wawrinka-Roger Federer final showdown if things break the right way, but an all-Russian final between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Vesnina on the women's side of the draw figures to be rather captivating.
As far as timing is concerned, men's semifinals will unfold Saturday before both finals take center stage Sunday. You can view the updated schedule here, courtesy of the tournament's official website.
Women's Final Preview
Kuznetsova and Vesnina have only met in tournament settings twice before, and the results were fittingly split.
According to WTA.com, Vesnina took the first clash in 2009 when the two battled for three sets in Dubai, while Kuznetsova got her revenge five years later with a 2014 straight-set triumph in Portugal.
As far as recent results go, Kuznetsova has been slightly more efficient in Indian Wells. The world's eighth-ranked player has been pushed to three sets just once—Round 3 against Roberta Vinci—while the remainder of her wins have come in straight sets.
The same can't be said for Vesnina, who needed three sets to slip past both Timea Babos and Venus Williams.
However, she did dispatch Kristina Mladenovic with remarkable ease in the semifinals on Friday when she mounted 5-0 and 5-1 leads in the first and second sets, respectively.
And while Mladenovic was an easier draw than Williams was the night before, the confidence Vesnina flashed in the spotlight suggests she could push Kuznetsova to three sets with a trophy on the line.
Men's Semifinal Preview
|2017 BNP Paribas Open Men's Semifinal Schedule|
|Saturday, March 18||No. 21 Pablo Carreno Busta vs. No. 3 Stan Wawrinka||2 p.m.|
|Saturday, March 18||No. 17 Jack Sock vs. No. 9 Roger Federer||Follows first match|
The first semifinal was set on Thursday, when Wawrinka and Pablo Carreno Busta took care of business in the quarterfinals to secure spots in the final four.
Although Wawrinka been pushed to three sets in each of his past two matches, the 31-year-old has remained confident in his game and trusted his shot-making capabilities when faced with adversity against the likes of Yoshihito Nishioka and Dominic Thiem.
"I think it's a little bit of experience, a little bit of confidence, a little bit of thinking about what you want to do and then just do it without thinking if you're gonna miss or not," he said after Thursday's win over Thiem, per ATPWorldTour.com. "In those moments, you need to trust your game, and that's what I did well."
When it comes to his semifinal opponent, Wawrinka will have to try and hang tough against the 21st-seeded Carreno Busta.
That would figure to be an easy task on the surface since Wawrinka is 2-0 all-time against the Spaniard, but Carreno Busta is coming off a strong showing against Pablo Cuevas in the quarterfinals that should have his confidence surging.
In the other semifinal, Federer will meet American Jack Sock after the Swiss advanced via walkover when Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the tournament due to an illness:
Nicholas Kyrgios @NickKyrgios
I'm so sorry but I can't play @BNPPARIBASOPEN today. 😢🤒 https://t.co/K5spWRgtLk3/17/2017, 5:10:17 PM
Sock, meanwhile, is moving on to the semifinal after he defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 Friday afternoon. For a guy who was bounced in the first round by Nishioka at his last event, that's not too shabby.
However, Sock will have to overcome a shaky past against Federer in order to prevent the 18-time Grand Slam champion from etching out a spot in the tournament finals.
According to ATPWorldTour.com, Federer has won both career matches against Sock—each of which came in 2015.
Also consider those wins came in straight sets and that Federer has extra rest entering the semis, and the world No. 10 should have a clear path to the championship.