This meeting between Vesnina and Townsend will be their first at the WTA level, and it's an important one.
For Vesnina, this tournament is a chance to prove she's still a serious threat in singles. The 31-year-old reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2016 and won Indian Wells last year, helping her ascend to a career-high No. 13 ranking. But a second-round loss at this year's BNP Paribas Open saw substantial ranking points drop off, causing her to plunge to her current position of No. 42. The Russian—currently ranked No. 2 in doubles—feels like she has what it takes to keep competing for titles in singles, and after a disappointing 1-2 record in March, Charleston is a chance to hit the reset button.
Townsend, meanwhile, has to be thinking that it's time for her to start making her own deep runs in tournaments. The 21-year-old played well against Watson today, but this is a former junior world No. 1 that hasn't yet won a tournament at the WTA level.
The good news for Townsend is that she appears to be in a lot better shape now than she has been in recent years. Perhaps it's time for her to start putting it all together. A win in this match would go a long way in building her confidence.