Kuznetsova: I have to win more key matches to get to the next level

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Svetlana Kuznetsova blew a huge lead against Elena Vesnina in the Indian Wells final. (AP)

Svetlana Kuznetsova says she has to start winning more big matches to get back up towards the top of the game.

The two-time Grand Slam champion defeated Karolina Pliskova in two tight sets to reach the final at Indian Wells, but fell to Elena Vesnina, 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4, in the final despite leading by a set and being up a break in both the second and third sets.

"I felt, over the years, why I have not been Top 15 or Top 10 is because I have not been winning these key matches," she said following her semifinal victory at Indian Wells. "As long as you start to win the tournaments, that's different confidences. You're ready to be in Top 15, Top 10. This is what [it] brings. Because I know how to play the game. I don't have to prove nothing to nobody.

"I just have to catch that momentum of confidence, and then it goes with the flow—winning matches, to be confident during the match. It changes a lot."

Kuznetsova returned to the Top 10 in 2016 for the first time since 2009. At Indian Wells, she was playing her first Premier Mandatory final since defeating Serena Williams to reach the 2016 Miami final.

"I didn't have the best preparation back in Moscow to come here,” she said. “But my goal was … [the] most important thing is I feel fresh. That's what I didn't feel in Australia. I was a little bit burnt up. So I came here, [and] I said, 'Maybe I'm not my best, but I feel great.’"

Even though she didn't win the final, Kuznetsova found positives following the match.

"I'm playing better,” she said. “I'm winning lots of matches in a good way, in two sets.”

Kuznetsova spent more than 10 hours on court during the tournament, also playing the doubles.

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