Indian Wells Masters: Raonic to meet Thiem; Kerber to face Bencic

Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem will meet in the Indian Wells Masters semifinals while Angelique Kerber beat Venus Williams to set up semifinal clash with Belinda Bencic

Canadian Milos Raonic exults after winning a point against Miomir Kecmanovic.   -  Getty Images

Milos Raonic moved into his fourth Indian Wells Masters semifinal, while Dominic Thiem was handed a walkover on Thursday.

Raonic, the 13th seed, ended the run of lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic with a 6-3, 6-4 victory in California.

Later, Angelique Kerber held off a spirited challenge by the unseeded Venus Williams to set up a semifinal clash against Belinda Bencic.

Raonic served 13 aces in his win, moving into the semis of the ATP 1000 event for the fourth time since 2015.

Raonic, the 2016 runner-up, will next face Thiem after the Austrian was gifted a passage into the last four.

The seventh seed was due to face Gael Monfils, but the Frenchman withdrew due to an Achilles injury.

"I tried to hit a little bit and I cannot compete 100 per cent so I'm so sorry guys to put myself in this situation," Monfils said.

"I would like to thank you for everything you gave me this week and again I'm sorry."

Thiem has lost his previous two meetings with Raonic, both in 2016, in straight sets.

Kerber battled to a 7-6 (3), 6-3 victory over Venus in a quarter-final lasting one hour, 36 minutes on Thursday.

Germany's Angelique Kerber beat Venus Williams.   -  Getty Images

 

In a first set of high intensity, eighth seed Kerber came from 4-2 down with back-to-back breaks to lead 5-4. With the opener slipping away, Williams showed her resolve to save the set with her fifth break point of a seven-minute game.

Despite Williams' tenacity to force a tie-break, the German took the initiative by winning the first three points and sealing the first set in 57 minutes.

With the momentum in her favour, Kerber edged out the seven-time grand slam champion in a closely fought second set to advance to the final four.

Earlier in the day, Swiss underdog Bencic continued her scintillating form by coming through a thriller against her close friend Karolina Pliskova, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

The 23rd-seeded Bencic started hot in the California desert, taking the first set with 14 winners and only six unforced errors, but Czech Pliskova hit back in the second.

With their first ever meeting going the distance, Bencic took the decider to extend her winning run to 12 matches and back up her upset of top seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round.

Canada's Bianca Andreescu will meet sixth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the other Indian Wells semifinal.

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