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Rediff.com  » Sports » Indian Wells PIX: Raonic to face Thiem in semis

Indian Wells PIX: Raonic to face Thiem in semis

Last updated on: March 15, 2019 11:45 IST

IMAGES from matches played at the BNP Paribas tennis tournament played in Indian Well, California, on Thursday

Canada's Milos Raonic celebrates match point after defeating Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden

IMAGE: Canada's Milos Raonic celebrates match point after defeating Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian Milos Raonic fired down 13 aces to defeat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4 and set up a BNP Paribas Open semi-final against Dominic Thiem after the Austrian's opponent, Gael Monfils, withdrew injured before their match on Thursday.

Serbian teenager Kecmanovic failed to convert any of his three break-point opportunities against a ruthless Raonic, who unleashed a torrent of punishing groundstrokes on a sunny and breezy day in Indian Wells.

 

The 13th seed's serving accuracy was not as precise as it has been, with just over half of his first deliveries finding the target, but when he was able to get one in play the Canadian won 88 percent of those points.

"In a few key moments my serve really helped me out," said Raonic, who reached the semis for the second year in a row.

"I just tried to play consistent, be aggressive when I had the first chance."

The Canadian will face Thiem for a place in the final after the seventh seed's quarter-final opponent Monfils said he was unable to play due to an injured Achilles.

"I tried to warm up and my left Achilles was very painful for the last couple of days," the Frenchman told the crowd.

"Tonight I tried to hit a little bit and I can't compete 100 percent.

"I am so sorry to put myself in this situation and I would like to thank you for everything you've given me this week and again I'm sorry for tonight."

The injury is a setback in an otherwise impressive season for Monfils, who has notched 15 wins, the most of any player on the ATP Tour.

Raonic has defeated Thiem in their two previous meetings, both of which came on hard courts in 2016.

In-form Bencic powers into Indian Wells semis

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic returns a shot against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova in their semi-final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden

IMAGE: Switzerland's Belinda Bencic returns a shot against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova in their semi-final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

A slew of errors came at the worst possible time for Venus Williams on Thursday as she blew a first set tiebreak before losing 7-6(3), 6-3 to Angelique Kerber in the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals in Indian Wells.

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.

The match, which featured two former world number ones, ended when Williams sent a backhand long on match point.

Three-times Grand Slam champion Kerber, who is looking for a maiden title in Indian Wells, will next play Belinda Bencic after the Swiss beat world number five Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the quarter-final earlier in the day.

Kerber said she struggled to impose her game on the American.

"I was really trying, in the first set especially, to find my rhythm and play my tennis but it was not so easy," she told reporters.

"To play against Venus, it's always tough.

"I'm happy I won the first set and then could move in and play a little bit better in the second set."

Bencic, who defeated world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka on Tuesday, secured the win when Pliskova could not return a serve on match point.

The 22-year-old Swiss could have had an even easier time against the Czech but converted just four of her 16 break-point opportunities.

Last month's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner matched Pliskova's seven aces with seven of her own on the way to logging her 12th straight victory.

"She knows she has the big serve and big groundstrokes," she said of her friend and practice partner Pliskova.

"Obviously, my plan was to try to make her rally and try to be good in the defensive and also try to be dominant when I can."

Since the beginning of the year world number 23 Bencic has defeated six top-10 opponents and looks to have put behind her the injury woes that plagued her last year.

"It's been a dream. I wouldn't believe I win today," she told reporters.

"I'm not going to the court with any expectations I'm just trying to play."

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