Bencic thwarts Pliskova in epic, extends streak into Indian Wells SF

Pliskova began the year with a 12th career WTA title at the Brisbane International and scored a shock win over Serena Williams to reach the Australian Open semifinals. The three-time WTA Ace leader had twice triumphed in three sets this week in Indian Wells, and the two-time semifinalist seemed poised to do just that as she raced to a 4-0 lead to start the second set.

Though Bencic clawed back to nearl-level, Pliskova’s famous first serve took her through a titanic final game that saw her save a break point and convert her fifth set point opportunity. Taking more initiative throughout the second set, the Czech powerhouse hit 17 winners and 19 unforced errors to just nine each from Bencic.

The pair continued to battle through several long games to start the decider, most notably as Pliskova served at 1-2, fighting off four break points and eight deuces. Undaunted, Bencic dropped just one point in her next two service games and promptly broke the former No.1 at her next opportunity.

Undefeated since Fed Cup weekend – where she earned two singles wins over Italy’s Camila Giorgi and Sara Errani – Bencic extended her winning streak to 12 with a confident hold to 15, booking her first Premier Mandatory semifinal.

Standing between Bencic and a second straight final will be the winner of the last quarterfinal between former No.1s Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams later tonight.

More to come…

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