Wawrinka Holds Off Thiem to Reach Indian Wells Semis

Mladenovic, Vesnina Set Up Semifinal Showdown
Stan Wawrinka outlasted Dominic Thiem to reach the BNP Paribas Open semifinals on Thursday.
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Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka outlasted Dominic Thiem of Austria at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. on Thursday night, advancing to the tournament’s semifinals with a thrilling 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2) after a little more than two and a half hours.

“The level was really high tonight. I’m really happy with the way I was playing, the way I found a way to win it,” said Wawrinka. “He’s a strong player, really tough to play. I think in general we both played at a high level, and the match came down to only one or two points. In the third-set tiebreak, I served really well and was really focused on not giving him anything.”

After breaking twice to win the opening set, Wawrinka was unable to do much on Thiem’s serve in the second as the Austrian didn’t face a break point and was able to convert on one of his two chances to force the match into a deciding third.

Wawrinka raced out to a 3-0 advantage in the third only to see Thiem fight back and win the next three games to even things up, and the set would head into a tiebreaker. Wawrinka was simply sharper in the ensuing tiebreaker and won seven of the nine points to close out the victory and hold off Thiem’s surge.

“I think it’s a little bit of experience, a little bit of confidence, a little bit of thinking about what you want to do and then just do it without thinking if you’re going to miss or not,” Wawrinka said of what allowed him to come through in the end."

In the semifinals, Wawrinka will take on 21st seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who also went the distance in his quarterfinal on Thursday, outlasting 27th seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(4).

“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s my first time in the semifinal in a Masters 1000,” said Carreno Busta. “This tournament is one of the best tournaments in the year and maybe one of the tougher, because all the people playing here. So I think it’s a really great result for me.”

Wawrinka is 2-0 all-time against Carreno Busta.

The other semifinal in Indian Wells will be determined on Friday night, when Roger Federer takes on Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock battles Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals.

In the women’s singles quarterfinals on Thursday, 14th seed Russian Elena Vesnina followed up her victory over Angelique Kerber in the fourth round by defeating Venus Williams 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to book her spot in the final four.

“This win today against Venus really means a lot for me,” she said afterwards. “It’s never easy to play against her. She’s a great champion and always fighting till the end. I’m really happy that I pulled it out.”

Vesnina broke twice in the final set and needed four match points to finally move past the American and into a semifinal showdown with 28th seed Kristina Mladenovic of France.

Mladenovic knocked off 13th seed Caroline Wozniacki in her quarterfinal, coming back from a set down to beat the 2011 champion 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.

The other semifinal will see third-seed Karolina Pliskova take on eighth-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.