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Swiatek sweeps Cirstea to secure spot in Indian Wells semi-finals

It will likely take something special to beat Iga Swiatek in Indian Wells this fortnight. Sorana Cirstea bowed out in straight sets to the world No 1 during quarter-final action on Thursday.

Iga Swiatek, Indian Wells 2023 Iga Swiatek, Indian Wells 2023 – © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic
BNP Paribas Open •Quarter-final • completed
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Iga Swiatek continued her dominant trek through the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Sorana Cirstea in the quarter-finals on Thursday afternoon. Swiatek needed only one hour and 22 minutes to set up a showdown against Wimbledon champion and Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina.

The top seed was far from dominant on serve, as she won only 50 percent of her points when she had to toss in a second delivery and got broken twice. It hardly mattered, though, because her return game was impeccable. Swiatek broke serve five times in eight return games, including twice in a row en route to a commanding 4-0 lead in the second set.

Two service holds to 30 at both 4-1 and 5-2 clinched the victory.

“I think it was a pretty nice match for me,” Swiatek assessed. “I feel like I’m playing better and better every match. Today I started both sets well and it gave me a lot of confidence. I felt like I can just put pressure (on her) and (was) kind of leading most of the rallies.”

Rybakina next for Swiatek

Friday’s semi-final showdown between Swiatek and Rybakina offers plenty of intrigue since the Kazakh just upset Swiatek at the Australian Open. The head-to-head series is tied at 1-1 on the main tour.

Earlier in the tournament, the 21-year-old Pole defeated American Claire Liu (6-0, 6-1), Canadian Bianca Andreescu, the No 32 seed (6-3, 7-6(1)) and Emma Raducanu (6-3, 6-1).

Cirstea, ranked No 83, beat Australian qualifier Kimberly Birrell (6-3, 6-2), American Madison Keys, the No 19 seed (6-1 ret.), American Bernarda Pera (6-3, 6-1) and Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the No 5 seed (6-4, 4-6, 7-5) to reach the quarter-finals in Indian Wells.

Indian Wells WTA 1000, other last quarter-final results:

  • Elena Rybakina beat Karolina Muchova: 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4
  • Maria Sakkari (7) beat Petra Kvitova (15): 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
  • Aryna Sabalenka (2) beat Coco Gauff (6): 6-4, 6-0
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