Sabalenka, Tiafoe advance to Indian Wells semifinals
INDIAN WELLS (USA): Aryna Sabalenka, still building on her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, overpowered Coco Gauff to reach the semifinals at the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000 on Wednesday while Frances Tiafoe led the way Men’s semi-finals leading into the final.
Sabalenka, ranked number two in the world, roared past Gauff 6-4, 6-0, turning the tables on a player who had won three of their four previous encounters.
Sabalenka was in full control of her serve and her thunderous groundstrokes left Gauff with few options.
The Belarusian fired five aces and a total of 18 winners to finish the match without a break point with three non-refundable serves in a row.
She said she’s a different player from 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 calmer on the pitch and I can control my emotions, which helps me stay in the game no matter what and just fight for every point without losing my mind and not giving points that easily the opponents,” said Sabalenka.
Nothing was easy for 19-year-old Gauff on Wednesday. She fired half a dozen aces, 12 winners in total, but under intense pressure from Sabalenka, she had 14 more unforced errors than her opponent.
“You can definitely see the improvement since the last time I played them,” Gauff said. “I think the biggest is their serve. We already knew she had a great serve, but she’s making fewer double faults and then her consistency got a lot better.”
Sabalenka meets either two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or last year’s runner-up Maria Sakkari against a hard-fought opponent for a place in the final.
Sakkari has been brought to three sets in all three games so far, while Kvitova saved four match points in her fourth-round win over third-placed Jessica Pegula.
– One way street –
Tiafoe was similarly dominant in a 6-4, 6-4 win over 2021 Indian Wells winner Cameron Norrie, who defeated Carlos Alcaraz to win the title in Rio de Janeiro last month.
The 25-year-old American, who is on the hunt for a second ATP title, reached his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final and made it clear he looks further than the last four.
“It’s great, but it’s the semifinals,” Tiafoe said. “The work is not done yet.”
Tiafoe, who reached the semifinals without dropping a set, was content with his day-to-day work against Norrie, who was on an eight-game winning streak.
He had broken Norrie twice in the second set to serve at 5-2 for the match.
He was heartbroken himself but made no mistake on his next opportunity as he ended it with lovemaking.
“I’m really happy,” Tiafoe said. “I feel like when I’m there mentally, I’m one of the best players in the world.
“It got a bit tricky at the end but it was pretty much one-way traffic and I’m very happy with my game.”
Tiafoe awaits the winner of the quarterfinal match between Daniil Medvedev and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.
The Russian Medvedev, sixth in the world rankings, is in the quarter-finals for the first time in Indian Wells and is going on an ATP winning streak of 17 games in three consecutive weeks after titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch