Third seed Karolina Pliskova and eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova will play each other in the semi-final in the top-half of the women’s singles draw at Indian Wells.
On Wednesday, Pliskova defeated seventh seed Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted four minutes short of the two-hour mark. Both players traded breaks across the two sets, but Pliskova’s aggressiveness throughout the match ensured that she was never out of contention. The Czechlost only two points in the opening set tie-break, before taking the lead in the match. While the second set tie-break was more competitive, with Muguruza staving off two match points, the Spaniard committed a double fault when facing her third match point to give the 2016 US Open finalist the win. “She gave me the last point, so I was pretty happy about it,” Pliskova said after the win.
In the other quarter-inal, two-time former finalist Kuznetsova defeated compatriot and 19th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-2 within 70 minutes. Kuznetsova not only won 81% points off her first serve to Pavlyuchenkova’s 50%, but she was also equally effectual in winning more points off her return games. The two-time former Major winner won 50% return points off Pavlyuchenkova’s first serve and 53% return points off her countrywoman’s second serves. She also converted five of the six break point opportunities that came her way and saved one of the two break points on her serve.
Kuznetsova and Pliskova have met each other twice before, with both matchups occurring in the 2016 season. While Pliskova won their first-ever meeting in the quarter-final of the Cincinnati Open in August, Kuznetsova levelled their head-to-head with a win in the round robin match at the WTA Finals in Singapore in November.
Top two doubles teams remain on track for final showdown
In the women’s doubles, top-seeds and Australian Open champs Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova defeated the Russian-French combination of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kristina Mladenovic in the quarter-final.
Mattek-Sands and Safarova won the opening set 6-3, before the unseeded duo of Kuznetsova and Mladenovic equalled the match by winning the second set by the same score. The ensuing match tie-break was quite close, before the American-Czech pairing closed it off 10-8 to get the win.
Mattek-Sands and Safarova will play Yung-Jan Chan and Martina Hingis in the penultimate round. Chan and Hingis had defeated Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova in their quarter-final on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, second seeds Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova also made their way into the semi-final after a 6-2, 6-1 win over Shuko Aoyama and Zhaoxuan Yang. The Russians finished off the match in 54 minutes and will play yet another unseeded team, of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in the second-last stage of the tournament.