Kuznetsova, Pliskova reach Indian Wells semifinals


After Wednesday’s set of quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open, we have the first two members of the final four: eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and third seed Karolina Pliskova.

After losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova twice this year, at the Apia International Sydney and the Australian Open, Kuznetsova took advantage of the surface that would seem to favor her and eliminated her fellow Russian in straight sets, 6-3 6-2. The 19th-seeded Pavlyuchenkova dropped serve in the opening game and never truly recovered, while in the second set Kuznetsova won the last six games to advance to the semifinals.

Just how relaxed Kuznetsova entered the match is evidenced in the fact that she asked Pavs to take a selfie with her, but she got a confused look in return. Still, we got the selfie.

After the match, Kuznetsova was asked what she takes out of her two Indian Wells finals back in 2007 and 2008 and the Russian answered accordingly: “Nothing (smiling). I mean, it was so long ago. What do you take out of being in high school?”

In the fantastic second quarterfinal, seventh seed Garbine Muguruza recovered from 1-4 to 6-5 in the first set and from 2-5 to 6-5 in the second set, including two match points, but both times Karolina Pliskova squeezed through in a tiebreak, finally winning the encounter 7-6(2) 7-6(5), when Muguruza double faulted on the Czech’s third match point. Just how close the match was can be seen in the fact that in the opening game of the second set, Muguruza held serve after saving seven break points!

In the Kuznetsova vs. Pliskova semifinal, a slight advantage could be given to the Russian, while their head-to-head record is 1-1, with Kuznetsova winning their latest match, in Singapore last year. The second pair of quarterfinals will be played on Thursday: Caroline Wozniacki vs. Kristina Mladenovic and Venus Williams vs. Elena Vesnina. (photos: Jimmie48)


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