Medvedev allays fitness fears to reach Indian Wells semis, Sabalenka, Tiafoe race through

Daniil Medvedev’s sore right ankle was no problem on Wednesday when he beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokin 6-3, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells, where Arina Sobolenko and Francis Tiafoe raced into the final four.

Medvedev was largely unscathed from a sprained ankle he suffered in a three-set fight against Alexander Zverev a day earlier as he extended his ATP winning streak to 18 in a row.

He scheduled a semi-final showdown with American 16th seed Tiafoe, who beat 2021 Indian Wells winner Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4.

Australian Open champion Sobolenko, still consolidating her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, defeated Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the combined WTA and ATP Masters 1000.

Sobolenko will take on 2022 runner-up Maria Sakkari after the Greek seventh-place finisher defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Medvedev arrived in the California desert on high after winning titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai in three weeks.

A longtime critic of the slow hard courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, he advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time since beating Zverev despite a sprained ankle.

“Actually, I’m glad that my ankle didn’t hurt a lot, because when I warmed up, it hurt a lot,” Medvedev said. “I couldn’t move well in the warm-up.

“I tried to keep warm as long as possible and take one painkiller, so that probably helped and I really felt better and better during the match,” added the former US Open champion, who has two days off before he will fight Tiafoe.

He raced through the first set, the Spaniard’s serve break in the second game being the only opening he needed as he dropped just six points on his serve en route to scoring a set in 39 minutes.

A completely different story in the second set at the windy Court Stadium. Davidovich Fokin had a chance to break in each of the first three games with Medvedev’s serve, but the Russian came up with big serves to parry him.

Davidovich Fokina led 0-40 in the eighth game, but Medvedev managed to escape.

On the way, Medvedev fell once more on the court, this time scratching his hand and requiring the coach to bandage his bloodied thumb.

“Daniil has won many tournaments, many matches in a row, and you can see how strong he is on the court,” Davidovich Fokina said.

“It was a very unpleasant match with the wind,” he added. “We both had break chances, he took his chance and I didn’t, but the level is there.”

– Sobolenko for a song –

World No. 2 Sobolenko edged out Gauff 6-4, 6-0, turning the tables against a player who had won three of the previous four meetings.

Sobolenko was in complete control of her serve, and her thunderous ground strikes left Gauff with few options.

The Belarusian made five aces and a total of 18 wins, ending the match without a break point with three straight throws.

She said she was a different player than she was when she lost to Gauff in Toronto last year, and since winning her second title of the year at the Australian Open.

“I think I’m more relaxed on the court and I can control my emotions, which helps me stay in the game no matter what and just fight for every point,” Sobolenko said.

Sobolenko will face battle-tested rival Sakkari, who has gone up to three sets in all four matches this week.

Tiafoe, who reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final without dropping a set, made it clear he was looking beyond the final four.

“It’s great, but it’s a semi-final,” Tiafoe said. “Job not done.”

Tiafoe beat Norrie twice in the second set and filed for the match 5-2.

He himself was broken, but he made no mistake at the next opportunity, ending it with a love game.

“Eventually, it got a little difficult, but it was pretty one-way and I’m very happy with where my game is,” he said.



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