Vesnina beats Errani in three sets to become first qualifier to make finals in Charleston

Vesnina defeats Errani to return to finals in Charleston (442).JPG

Elena Vesnina has lost one set this week in Charleston and it came against Sara Errani, a seasoned clay court player. Still, Errani's clay game could not match Vesnina's determination, and the Russian won in three sets on Saturday.

She defeated Errani 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Vesnina, who made this year's finals by winning seven straight matches, said she has great memories of appearing in the championship five years ago.

"I knew that I could do that again. But, of course, I knew it was going to be very difficult coming from the qualifying," she said.

It was the first time in her career she made a final as a qualifier. It took her two hours and 20 minutes to notch the victory over Errani.

Vesnina will appear in the Volvo Car Open for the first time since 2011, a match she lost. This year, she will face Sloane Stephens, a player who has struggled in the past on Charleston's green clay. But this year, the Florida girl is playing inspired tennis.

Still, Vesnina says neither woman will play their best tennis on Sunday. There are too many factors affecting their games, she said, including nerves, a long week of tough matches, and the weather.

And the weather in Charleston has been difficult to deal with for some players. Saturday's matches included a swirling, strong wind that would send clouds of clay dust around the court.

The wind would gust upwards of 35 mph.

"I'm used to playing in the wind, but the problem is today it was changing the direction - like every five minutes it was blowing different ways," Vesnina said.

As for the finals, "I hope it's not going to be that windy like today. Let's hope."