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Rediff.com  » Sports » Indian Wells: Azarenka serves up 'double bagel' to reach semis

Indian Wells: Azarenka serves up 'double bagel' to reach semis

Last updated on: March 18, 2016 12:50 IST

Victoria Azarenka

IMAGE: Belarus's Victoria Azarenka serves as she defeats Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in straight sets during the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images.

Victoria Azarenka showed little sympathy against an ailing Magdalena Rybarikova as the Belarussian eased to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over her Slovak opponent to book a BNP Paribas Open semi-final berth on Thursday.

The 2012 champion polished off the opening set in just 34 minutes as she raced towards a first 'double bagel' at the tournament in two years. "I think the key was the start. I started really well and took control and I think in the second set, she wasn't really feeling well," Azarenka, who faces big-serving Czech Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals, told reporters.

"I'm glad I stayed focused on my game."

Following the first set, the unseeded Rybarikova took a medical timeout to have her upper thigh taped. Rybarikova was clearly struggling by the end of the match but the unseeded Slovakian was always fighting a lost cause as she had her serve broken six times and finished with 25 unforced errors.

Azarenka continues her rise up the rankings after two injury-hampered seasons and the former world number one is exuding confidence in California this week, having dropped just one set in her tournament.

Czech Pliskova eases into last four 

Karolina Pliskova

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova serves to Russia's Daria Pliskova during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

Big-serving Czech Karolina Pliskova cruised into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Russian teenager Darya Kasatkina on Thursday. 

Pliskova blasted 30 winners and powered down nine aces to end Kasatkina's fairytale run in California, wrapping up the win in just over an hour at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. 

The 18-year-old Russian was unable to replicate the form she produced in ousting 12th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets in the previous round as she was overpowered by the world number 19. 

"I was really happy with the way I played, I think it was one of the best matches that I played here so far," Pliskova, 24, told reporters after reaching her first WTA 'premier mandatory' semi-final. 

"I played some good tennis this week, and then there is Miami (next week), so I have chances to improve my ranking and get close to the top 10 again." 

Top seed Serena Williams will take on third-seeded Pole Agnieska Radwanska in a mouth-watering matchup in the other semi-final on Friday. 

'It's good that in tennis you can find some solution against big players' 

David Goffin

IMAGE: Belgium's David Goffin returns a shot to Marin Cilic of Croatia. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

Belgian David Goffin continued his giant-killing run at Indian Wells as he stormed into the last four of the BNP Paribas Open with a 7-6(4) 6-2 upset victory over 10th-seeded Croat Marin Cilic on Thursday. 

A day after ousting third seed Stanislas Wawrinka, Goffin battled through to his first Masters 1000 semi-final where he will meet Canadian Milos Raonic, a 7-5, 6-3 victor over Frenchman Gael Monfils.

The six-foot six-inch (1.98 metres) Cilic, who squandered four set points in the opening set, lost for an eighth consecutive time in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 event. 

"It's good that in tennis you can find some solution against big players like Marin or Milos (Raonic) or (John) Isner," Goffin, 25, told reporters. 

"Maybe I'm quicker. I think I can take the ball earlier. I have other weapons. That's why tennis is a nice sport. 

"I'm really happy with the way I managed the important points ... it was the key of the match, to win the first set, and to be more relaxed in the second." 

World number 18 Goffin broke the former US Open champion's serve twice in the second set as he tightened his grip on the match. 

"I was on my baseline and I was making him run a lot," said the Belgian, who has won two ATP titles. 

"When I had the opportunity on his second serve, I was really aggressive, so that's why it was a better second set."

Raonic pounded out 10 aces to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells for the second straight year.

"I did things well. I created opportunities for myself," the 12th seed told reporters.

"I served well and when I did get myself in trouble, I felt like it was me forcing the game. Those kind of things are positive and I stuck to it and it came together."

Raonic relinquished an early break to Monfils in the first set but broke back in the 12th game to go 1-0 up and carried the momentum into the second stanza before serving out for the victory after 90 minutes.

The Canadian was sidelined in February because of a groin injury that helped end his run in semi-finals of the Australian Open but is fully fit now and ready to take on Goffin. "He's playing well," said Raonic.

"If I do the right things I can give myself a chance. I think I have shown that this year, and I hope I can keep showing that."

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