Swiatek, Rybakina reach semis at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek breezed past 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 it out.

“I’m happy that I played so intense that I could start both sets well,” Swiatek said. “I’m feeling like I’m handling things pretty well and just playing my game.”

Next up for Swiatek is No. 10 seed Elena Rybakina, who outlasted 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.

Rybakina became the first woman from Kazakhstan to earn a semifinal berth at Indian Wells.

She dropped her first set of the tournament in the second, but turned it up 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 court. “I didn’t start that well in the beginning of the match, I was a bit slower than usual and here the conditions are not that easy for me. In the end, in the important moments I played well.”

Rybakina and Swiatek are 1-1 against each other in their careers.

“In Australia, I just know that when I went to play against her, I had really nothing to lose. She’s number one and kind of pressure on her in that moment,” Rybakina said.

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