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Wimbledon champion Rybakina edges out Muchova to take semi-final spot in Indian Wells

The Kazakh survived a two-hour, 45-minute battle to set up a semi-final with either Iga Swiatek or Sorana Cirstea

Elena Rybakina Indian Wells Icon SMI / Panoramic
BNP Paribas Open •Quarter-final • completed
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Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina outlasted Czech Karolina Muchova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4 in a two-hour, 45-minute battle on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells for the first time.

The No 10 seed, who also reached the final of the Australian Open earlier this year, will face the winner of the match between Pole Iga Swiatek, the top seed and defending champion, and Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

“For sure, it was a tough match,” said Rybakina, who is the first Kazakh ever to reach the last four in Indian Wells. “I’m just happy I was able to win it in the third set.”

The first set was nip and tuck throughout and Muchova had a set point, only for Rybakina to save it and take the tiebreak 7-4 to move ahead.

Muchova rues missed set point in opener

But Muchova, a former semi-finalist at the Australian Open but making her debut in Indian Wells after trouble with injury, bounced back well to take the second.

The third looked like it might be heading to a deciding tiebreak before Rybakina got the vital break and though she was unable to take two match points on the Muchova serve at 5-3, she served out for victory, coming from 0-30 down and then banging down her sixth ace to seal her place in the last four.

“I didn’t start the match so [well],” Rybakina reflected. “I was a bit low on energy. Didn’t move that well; didn’t serve (well), also. So it was already struggle from the beginning. Also Karolina, she played really well. She was opening the court and using these slow conditions. It was difficult for me to get free points.

“Yeah, it was tough first set, so in the second it was difficult to keep the level. I dropped and lost three games really quick. So of course after I start to feel the rhythm again, but it was already too late for the second set. In the third, I just knew that I have to push more — try to focus on every point. Yeah, just somehow to raise my energy. In the end it was really close also the third set.”

Rybakina had not dropped a set en route to the quarters, beating American wild card Sofia Kenin (7-6 (6), 7-6 (5)), Spaniard Paula Badosa, the No 21 seed (6-3, 7-5) and Russian qualifier Varvara Gracheva (6-3, 6-0).

World No 76 Muchova reached the quarters with wins over Kazakh Yulia Putintseva (6-3, 4-6, 6-4), Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, the No 14 seed (7-6 (1), 6-3), Italian Martina Trevisan, the No 23 seed (6-4, 3-6, 6-4) and Marketa Vondrousova (6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4).

Indian Wells WTA 1000, other quarter-final results (Indian Wells Tennis Garden, hard, USD 8.800.000, most recent results first):

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