Swiatek powers into blockbuster Indian Wells semi-final against Rybakina

INDIAN WELLS: World top-ranked player, Iga Svitek on Thursday defeated Sorana Sarastia 6-2, 6-3 to book her place in the semi-finals of Indian Wells. Swiatek is now set to face the Wimbledon champion. Elena Rybakina In what promises to be an interesting grudge match.

Rybakina, who defeated Switek in the fourth round of the Australian Open Arina Sabalenka In the first Grand Slam final of the year, the 76th-ranked Czech outlasted Karolina Muchova 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-4.

“She’s playing really well and inside. The semi-finals You’re always going to play against top players, so I’ll be ready,” Switek said. “The last time we played was in Australia. Totally different situations. So I will prepare like any other match and I will give 100%.”

Switek, in her 50th week at No. 1, is seeking to become only the second woman since Martina Navratilova in 1990-91 to win back-to-back titles at the combined WTA and ATP Masters 1000 event in the California desert.

She has not dropped a set so far in a week that has seen her beat former US Open champions Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducano.

Romania’s Sarastia, ranked 83rd in the world and coming off a stunning fourth-round victory over fifth-ranked Caroline Garcia, did everything she could to stay with Svitek early.

He earned an early break and held off a break point as he leveled the opening set at 2-2.

But Swietek, adjusting to the warmer conditions of the day after two straight night matches, won the next eight games to take control of the contest.

Cirstia saved the first set point with an ace, gave herself a game point with a brilliant spinning drop shot, before finally withstanding Swietic’s pressure with a forehand into the net.

In a flash Swiatek was 4-0 up with two breaks in the second, Cirstea held for 4-2 in a spirited display before Swiatek closed it out.

“The most important thing for me is that I came back in the second set to finish it off the right way,” Switek said. “And I’m happy that I played fast enough to start both sets well.”

She will face her biggest test of the week against Kazakhstan’s Rybakina, who had all she could handle from the oft-injured Mochuva.

The Czech also reached the quarter-finals in Dubai last month but had to withdraw due to an abdominal injury.

Rybakina took advantage as Muchova’s serve slowed in the final set, but needed three match points to finish. He wasted two with backhand errors as Michova held serve in the final game.

Rybakina then fell behind 0-30 on her serve, but polished it off with her sixth ace of the day after two hours and 45 minutes.

“Well, I didn’t start the match that well,” Rybakina said. “I was a little low on energy, not moving well.

“Also, Carolina, she played really well. She was opening up the court and taking advantage of those slow situations. In the third, I just knew I had to push harder, focus on every point. To try, to increase one’s energy somehow.”

Alcaraz in action

Two men’s quarterfinals were on the slate, with top seed Carlos Alcaraz taking on Canada’s Felix Auger-Iliasime and defending champion Taylor Fritz taking on Italy’s Genk Sener in a battle of the big hitters.

Alcaraz, ranked second in the world, can return to number one this week with a third career Masters 1000 title, but he will have to overtake Auger-Aliasime for the first time to do so.

The 10th-ranked Canadian, who survived six match points in a fourth-round win over Tommy Paul, has won all four of his previous matches, most recently in Basel in October as a late-season surge for Auger- Aliassime won three consecutive ATP titles.

The other semi-final berths were decided on Wednesday, when Daniil Medvedev defeated Spain’s Alejandro Davidovic Fokina 6-3, 7-5 in pursuit of a fourth consecutive ATP title after victories in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai. American Francis Tiafoe beat former champion Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4.

Sabalenka also advanced by beating American Coco Goff 6-4, 6-0 to meet 2022 finalist Maria Sakari, who beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. defeated by

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