Swiatek, Rybakina reach semis at Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, California. No. 1 Iga Swiatek beat Sorana Kirstya 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Swiatek, the reigning champion, took a 4-0 lead in the second set and converted her second match point by closing it out.

“I’m glad I played so intensely that I was able to start well in both sets,” Swiatek said. “I feel like I’m doing pretty well with everything and just playing my game.”

Next behind Swiatek is 10th seed Elena Rybakina, who outplayed Karolina Muchova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4. It will be a rematch from the Australian Open in January, when Rybakina won 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Yannick Sinner beat defending champion Taylor Fritz 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to become the first Italian to reach the semi-finals of the 47-year-old tournament.

Sinner, who finished 11th, advanced to the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 for the second time. He will face top seed Carlos Alcaraz, who beat No. 8 Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4. Alcaraz must win the title in order to regain world number one.

Sinner had 32 winners to Fritz’s 25; both had 17 unforced errors.

Sinner hit 80% of his first innings and won 15 of 18 points off the net.

Fritz said that Sinner handled the wind better on the leg.

“I would say that the two games I lost in the third, I just didn’t feel like I could do much on points,” Fritz said. “I had to just hope he missed, just because of how strong the wind was in my face.”

Sinner said he interfered during Fritz’s serve in the middle of the match and tried to take the ball early to throw off the American’s rhythm.

“I moved a little, especially on the deuce side,” he said. “But only on the first serve, because I felt like I had no way of seeing how the ball was tossed or where it was serving. So I tried, at least if the ball is there, to catch it as soon as possible so that it has less time.”

Rybakina became the first woman from Kazakhstan to qualify for the Indian Wells semi-finals.

She lost her first set of the tournament in the second but won in the third. The 2022 Wimbledon champion scored 15 of 16 on the first serve and never hit a break point in a set.

“I served much better in the third,” Rybakina said on the court. “I didn’t start very well at the beginning of the match, I was a little slower than usual and the conditions here are not so easy for me. After all, I played well in the important moments.”

Rybakina and Swiatek play against each other 1:1 in their careers.

“In Australia, I just know that when I went to play against her, I really had nothing to lose. She is number one and at that moment a certain pressure was put on her, ”said Rybakina.


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