Thiem into Indian Wells semis, injured Monfils withdraws

Annette Crawford
March 16, 2019

This Indian Wells is "not over" for Monfils since he will definitely be there on Friday to support his girlfriend Elina Svitolina that will play the semifinal against Bianca Andreescu. With the opener slipping away, Williams showed her resolve to save the set with her fifth break point of a seven-minute game.

In the women's singles, Belinda Bencic beat fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the semis, ensuring her return to the top 20 in the rankings.

Mari Osaka, a year-older than her 21-year-old sister who has shot to the top of the rankings thanks to back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the United States and Australian Opens, has twice played in WTA doubles made draws, most recently with Naomi at the 2017 Toray Pan Pacific Open.

Bencic's victory set up a semifinal against No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat error-prone Venus Williams 7-6 (3), 6-3 in a match-up of 30-somethings. Kerber has won seven of her last nine matches on outdoor hard court. From the get-go, Kerber made strong in-roads into Williams' serve, especially the second serve and was just as relentless on her own serves.

Players receiving wild cards directly into the men's main draw include Spanish veteran David Ferrer, who has said 2019 will e his last season.

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Williams alternately smacked winners from the baseline and sprayed shots beyond the lines. This is Kerber's third semi-final in Indian Wells, coming almost six years after her last appearance (in 2013, lost to Caroline Wozniacki).

Bencic was pushed to three sets for the first time in four matches at the tournament.

The 23rd-seeded Bencic started hot in the California desert, taking the first set with 14 winners and only six unforced errors, but Czech Pliskova hit back in the second. She was coming off a straight-set upset of defending champion and top-ranked Naomi Osaka in the fourth round. In the third, she overcame a break point to hold at 2-all but only won one more game the rest of the way. Kerber also has a shot to make her first ever final appearance in a Premier Mandatory.

In the semi-final, she is set to face in-form Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who reached this stage after a 12-match winning streak, including a quarter-final win over Karolína Plíšková.

In women's doubles, Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski was eliminated in the semifinals on Thursday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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