Raonic overwhelms Kecmanovic to reach semis

Friday, 2019-03-15 06:57:59
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Milos Raonic (CAN) during his quarterfinal match against Miomir Kecmanovic (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. (Reuters)
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Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic fired down 13 aces to defeat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3 6-4 on Thursday and reach the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals in Indian Wells for a second consecutive year.

Serbian teenager Kecmanovic was unable to convert any of his three break-point opportunities against a ruthless Raonic, who unleashed a torrent of punishing groundstrokes on a sunny and breezy day in the California desert.

Raonic’s serving accuracy was not as precise as it has been in other matches, with only 55 percent of his first deliveries finding the target.

But when he was able to get one in play it was too much for the tournament lucky loser, with Raonic winning 88 percent of those points.

Next up for Raonic is either Gael Monfils or Dominic Thiem, who play their quarter-final later on Thursday.

On the women’s side, Belinda Bencic slayed another giant by outlasting world number five Karolina Pliskova 6-3 4-6 6-3 to reach the semi-finals in Indian Wells.

The 22-year-old Swiss, who crushed world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka on Tuesday, fired a serve out wide that Pliskova could not return on match point to seal the win under sunny skies in the Southern California desert.

Bencic could have had an even easier time against the Czech but only managed to convert four of her 16 break-point opportunities.

But she matched the big-serving Pliskova's seven aces with seven of her own as she logged her 12th straight win going back to her victory at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month.

Since the beginning of the year world number 23 Bencic has defeated six top-10 opponents and looks to have put behind her the injury woes that plagued her last year.

Next up for Bencic is a semi-final against either American Venus Williams or German Angelique Kerber, who play their quarter-final match later on Thursday.