Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Thiem reaches Indian Wells semis as Monfils withdraws

Raonic ends lucky loser Kecmanovic's run Raonic, Thiem to clash in semis; Bencic, Kerber face off for spot in final
Frederick Owens | 16 March, 2019, 19:43

Milos Raonic made sure Miomir Kecmanovic's good luck finally ran out at the BNP Paribas Open.

Raonic fired 13 aces against no double faults in putting away Kecmanovic in 72 minutes on a sunny, windy and cool day in the Southern California desert. "I was really surprised", Thiem said, who was waiting to be taken to the court when he realized there was a problem.

"She changed the rhythm a little bit", Kerber said. As soon as I had a chance on the first forehand, I was able to find my way to be the one dictating the point.

Momentum swung firmly in Kerber's favour during the tie-break when Williams committed six unforced errors, including a backhand into the net that handed the German the set.

Williams never got her big serve going, producing just one ace.

Williams alternately smacked winners from the baseline and sprayed shots beyond the lines.

"I played the best I could here", she said.

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Williams' right knee was taped and she did not appear to be moving easily or serving with much pace.

Other women's wild cards went to two of last year's junior Grand Slam singles champions in Roland Garros victor Cori Gauff of the United States and US Open champion Wang Xiyu of China. Until Kerber stopped her, Williams had won four matches in a row for the first time since past year in the desert.

He has accepted a wild card into the qualifying draw in Miami, which will mark the first time he's played a qualifying tournament since 2007 at Queen's Club.

Bencic showed no sign of a let-down after her fourth-round victory over world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka, out-lasted Czech Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. But when he did, he won almost 90 percent of the points, and his serve was good enough when he needed it most. "So my serve was bad, my shots were bad".

"Of course I'm very confident", said Bencic, who rose to 23 in the world with her first WTA title in four years at Dubai last month and will crack the top 10 by virtue of reaching the semis here.

"When you're confident, you can really just trust your instincts and you don't have to think about it at all", Bencic said. "Because I was playing great tennis, feeling strong".

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