World No. 1 Halep advances to Indian Wells semifinals
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 15, 2018 08:42 AM
Simona Halep, of Romania, returns a shot to Petra Martic, of Croatia, during the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
By Beth Harris, Associated Press
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Simona Halep fought the wind and a pesky opponent to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.
The world's top-ranked woman outlasted Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-3 and improved to 18-1 in matches this year.
Winds gusting to 15 mph made shots tricky. Trailing 4-2 in the first set, Martic closed to 5-4 before Halep served it out.
Martic controlled the second set, taking a 5-2 lead before Halep forced the tiebreaker. The Romanian tied it 5-all before Martic won the final two points to force a third set. Halep rallied from a 2-1 deficit to tie it 3-all before winning the last three games.
"I was a little bit frustrated about the game today because the wind didn't give us the rhythm," Halep said in an on-court interview. "That's maybe why I'm here because I refuse to lose."
Halep next plays the winner of a quarterfinal between No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic and Naomi Osaka of Japan.
Roger Federer, the world's top-ranked man, followed Halep on the main stadium court against Jeremy Chardy of France.
In another fourth-round men's match, Borna Coric of Croatia outlasted American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-4 and No. 31 Phillipp Kohlschreiber of Germany beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert of France 6-4, 7-6 (7).
Fritz had a chance to serve out the second set at 5-4 and couldn't do it, but he saved a match point down 6-5 in the tiebreaker before trying it up and letting out a yell.
Fritz broke in the first game of the third set, but Coric tied it in the fourth game. He then saved a break point in the ninth game before breaking Fritz to clinch the match in the next game on his fourth match point overall.
"I stayed calm. It was very, very tough second set," Coric said. "It was ups and downs and set points, the tiebreak. I could already be in my room watching Netflix and I was out there playing on that wind and that sun."
No. 23 Chung Hyeon of South Korea beat 30th-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-1, 6-3.
Chung has been on a roll since his Grand Slam breakthrough with a semifinal loss to Federer in the Australian Open. He's reached the quarterfinals or better in four of five tournaments so far and improved to 15-5 this year.
After Chung dominated in racing to a 6-1, 5-0 lead before Cuevas fought off seven match points to break back in the sixth game. Cuevas then broke Chung again to close to 5-3, but the Korean closed out the win.
"It was a really tough match against Pablo," Chung said. "I have few match points but start (getting) windy and he playing good. Not easy to play with the wind, but I'm just trying to focus all the time."