Wednesday was a first day of qualifiers action in Indian Wells, as first semifinalists were emerged from bottom halves of both the WTA and ATP draw.
Aryna Sabalenka showed an ultimate performance in the one-sided match against Cori Gauff. The Australian Open champion eliminated last standed American player in WTA draw after a dominant win 6-4 6-0. Sabalenka gave just no chances for the world's number 6, moving up front from the first game when she earned the early break. This was the only one break in the opening set, but the Belarusian was nowhere near to lose her advantage, as she faced no breakpoints and any service game of her has ended up even by deuce. The tournament's second seed followed the blow in next set, even raising up the level of her game. Sabalenka won all the games in second set and needed just 65 minutes to secure the semifinal spot.
Maria Sakkari will line-up the semifinal clash against Sabalenka after much more intense match played against Petra Kvitova. The Greek won 4-6 7-5 6-1, coming back from being a set and break down. Kvitova was very close to possibily seal her victory, as she started second set with an early break, just after clinching the opening one 6-4. The Czech was putting instant pressure on Sakkari, producing 3 breakpoints in 3rd and 5th game. Extending the lead into double break could close the chances for Sakkari, but the world's number 7 leveled the score after two invaluable holds and breaking her opponent back in 6th game. Sakkari added another break in 12th game, when the set was coming to be settled in the tiebreak. The turnover of second set's fates gave wings to the Greek who were a dominant force in deciding set, winning it 6-1 and securing her semifinal spot.
The Greek was very happy about this win, as she commented her great comeback in post-match interview: “It was just the fact that I came back from a set and break down. It is a good Kvitova again. I am not saying that in a bad way. But last year for me, it was a lot easier to play against her than this year. She is now in a good form. For me, coming back against her, now that she is playing good, now that she has beaten so many good players, it is a bloody good win. I just feel like the fact that I found a way today was one of the best comebacks of my life.”
Daniil Medvedev has seemingly sorted out the ankle injury issues, which disturbed him during his stunning R16 match against Alexander Zverev. The Russian continues her winning strike, as he added 18th victory in a row, defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3 7-5. It was the show of effectivness from Medvedev. The world's number 6 controled the first set, but needed to defend breakpoints in 4 services games of second set. Medvedev faced 6 breakpoints in this set, but cleared out all the danger and found the way to gain the decisive break in 11th game, moving into semifinal.
The US Open 2021 champion commented his feelings after the match: "I am actually happy the ankle did not hurt much because when I warmed up, it was hurting pretty bad. I knew I was going to play, I knew I was going to try. But I could not move well on the warm-up. I tried to warm it up as long as possible, took one painkiller so that probably helped. I was actually feeling better and better during the match which was absolutely crazy. I could talk about this for 15 minutes, but just really happy to go through such a tough match with such tough conditions with the wind."
Frances Tiafoe earns his first career's ATP Masters 1000 semifinal after defeating Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-4. The Brit was a pre-match favorite related to odds, but Tiafoe was on the front foot from the start to finish. First set was decided but the only one break gained by Tiafoe in 7th game. Second set brought 5 breaks in all the 10 games played, but the American was leading from the start, causing a lot of problems during Norrie's service games.
"I am really happy. I feel like when I am there mentally, I am one of the best players in the world. Today it is not just about getting to the semis, I am happy to beat a guy like that, who has been playing so well. To be able to come out here and beat him in straight sets, is relatively comfortable. At the end, it got a little tricky, but it was pretty one-way traffic and I am really happy with where my game is at." - said Tiafoe in the post-match interview.
Here are the Wednesday's ATP highlights: