Iga Swiatek, ranked number one in the world, defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.
Swiatek, the defending champion, took a 4-0 lead in the second set and converted her second match point to close out the match.
“I’m happy that I played so intensely that I was able to start both sets well,” Swiatek said. “I feel like I’m handling things pretty well and I’m just playing my game.”
Next up for Swiatek is No.10 seed Elena Rybakina, who upset Karolina Muchova 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4. It will be a rematch of the Australian Open in January, when Rybakina won 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
Jannik Sinner defeated defending champion Taylor Fritz 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to become the first Italian to reach the semifinals of the 47-year-old tournament.
Sinner, the 11th seed, advanced to the semifinals at a Masters 1000 for the second time. He will face first seed Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated No. 8 Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4. Alcaraz needs to win the title to regain the world number 1 ranking.
Sinner had 32 winners to Fritz’s 25; both had 17 unforced errors.
Sinner connected on 80% of her first serves and won 15 of 18 points on net.
Fritz said Sinner handled the windy conditions better down the stretch.
“I would say in the two games where I got broken in the third, I didn’t really feel like I could do a lot on points,” Fritz said. “I was hoping it would miss, just because of how strong the wind was in my face.”
Sinner said he intervened against Fritz’s serve in the middle of the match and tried to take the ball early to throw off the American’s pace.
“I got a little bit closer, especially on the side of the two of them,” he said. “But only on the first serve, because I felt like I didn’t have any chance to see the ball being released or where I was serving. So I tried at least, if the ball is there, to catch it as soon as possible to give it less time.”
Rybakina became the first woman from Kazakhstan to earn a semifinal berth at Indian Wells.
He lost his first set of the tournament in the second, but won it in the third. The 2022 Wimbledon champion won 15 of 16 first-serve points and never faced a break point in the set.
“I served much better in the third,” Rybakina said on the court. ”I didn’t start so well at the beginning of the match, I was a bit slower than usual and here the conditions are not so easy for me. In the end, in the important moments I played well”.
Rybakina and Swiatek are 1-1 in their careers.
“In Australia, I just know that when I went to play her, I really had nothing to lose. She is number one and she puts pressure on her at that time,” Rybakina said.