Ruthless Federer sends Chung packing, faces Coric next
South Korean Chung Hyeon managed to hang around against Roger Federer a little longer this time around, but only just, as the Swiss maestro advanced to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open 7-5, 6-1 on Thursday.
Chung's fairytale run at the Australian Open in January came to a crashing halt when he retired with foot blisters while trailing Federer 6-1, 5-2 in their semi-final.
Federer, who won his 20th Grand Slam title with his victory at Melbourne Park, was ruthless with his 21-year-old opponent once again on Thursday and took his unbeaten run this year to 16 matches, equalling his record from 12 years ago.
Chung said he had enjoyed going toe-to-toe with Federer in a tight first set.
“I was down one break, and I'm just trying to stay calm and I'm just trying to learn from Roger," the Korean told the ATP's official website. "And I come back, five-all, and he played good. I'm really happy to play against Roger."
Federer will next meet Borna Coric, who defeated world number nine Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).
The 21-year-old Croatian had initially looked out-gunned by the big-serving South African, who had won all three of their previous meetings without dropping a set.
After weathering an onslaught of huge serves in the first set, however, Coric was able to force longer rallies in the second and third, where his speed and accuracy allowed him to control points.
“I didn't start very well. He was hitting the ball very big, and I just couldn't find my rhythm on the ball,” Coric said.
“I started going more for the serve. And then I broke him earlier in the second set, which was really helpful.
"In the third, again, I knew it's one break, it's two or three points that are going to decide, and that's what happened.”
The match appeared all but over in the third when a frustrated Coric double faulted to hand Anderson a break for a 4-2 lead but the world number 49 broke straight back and went on to force a tie-breaker.
Anderson was ragged thereafter and Coric pumped his fist in triumph after the seventh seed sent a forehand long to hand the Croatian the biggest win of his career.
Venus through to semis, faces Kasatkina
Venus Williams swept aside Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-2 on a windy afternoon at the BNP Paribas Open to set up a semi-final against rising Russian Daria Kasatkina, who beat Angelique Kerber 6-0, 6-2 earlier in the day.
Williams was never seriously tested by the Spaniard, who converted just one of her seven break-point opportunities en route to her fourth consecutive loss to the American.
The victory puts Williams back in the semi-finals at Indian Wells for the first time in 17 years.
She skipped the tournament from 2002 to 2015 in the aftermath of her controversial withdrawal from the semis in 2001 where she was due to meet sister Serena.
Spectators vented their displeasure with the withdrawal during the final, booing Serena and jeering Venus and father Richard Williams when the pair arrived to watch the match. Richard Williams alleged he had heard racist taunts.
"This was my first breakout tournament when I was 16 so to come back and get closer to hopefully a title, it's like a dream come true," said Venus, who was taught the game by her father on the courts of Compton, California.
"I definitely feel the crowd behind me if I'm getting behind and when I get match point I feel the love," she said.
"So I love it, I'm happy. This is home."
Friday's semi-final will pit the 37-year-old against 20-year-old Kastakina, who needed less than an hour to defeat former world No. 1 Kerber earlier on Thursday.
Kastakina won five of her six break point opportunities in a dominant performance. The Russian has been toppling big names all tournament long, also defeating US Open champion Sloane Stephens and world No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki on the way to the semi-finals.
Williams, the tournament's No. 8 seed, has split her only two career meetings with the 20th-seeded Kastakina.
The winner will face either world No. 1 Simona Halep or 20-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan, who are set to play their semi-final on Friday.