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Bencic sweeps past Pliskova into Indian Wells semi-finals

  • Rebecca Bryan

    Agence France-Presse

Indian Wells, United States   /   Fri, March 15, 2019   /   09:09 am
Bencic sweeps past Pliskova into Indian Wells semi-finals Belinda Bencic of Switzerland plays Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 14, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. (AFP/Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Resurgent Swiss Belinda Bencic swept to a 12th straight match win on Thursday, booking an Indian Wells WTA semi-final berth with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over fifth-ranked Karolina Pliskova.

Bencic, a former world number seven whose ranking slumped as injuries stalled her career, showed no sign of a let-down after her fourth-round victory over world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka.

Six of the victories in her 12-match streak have come against top-10 players, and Bencic is thrilled to be riding the wave of success -- looking forward eagerly to taking on either seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams or eighth-ranked Angelique Kerber for a place in the final.

"Of course I'm very confident," said Bencic, who rose to 23 in the world with her first WTA title in four years at Dubai last month and will crack the top 10 by virtue of reaching the semis here.

"I'm not putting pressure on myself even now," the 22-year-old said. "I'm just playing. The less I think on the court the better it is.

"When you're confident you can just trust your instincts and you dont have to think about it at all. I'm definitely playing how I feel it, and it's going so well I'm not planning on changing that."

Pliskova launched her season with a 12th career title in Brisbane, and shocked Serena Williams to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

After dropping the first set she came back strong in the second, winning the first four games as she forced a decisive third set, although not before Bencic saved four set points.

Close games marked the start of the third, with Pliskova fighting off four break points in a game that went to eight deuces to hold for 2-2.

But Bencic held her next two service games with authority and broke for a 5-3 lead, finally sealing the match with a serve that was too much for Pliskova.

Pliskova couldn't find much good to say about her own game, although she was pleased she was able to force the third set.

"I think (it's) good that I fought, that it went to the third set, but otherwise not even close to my good tennis," she said.