Kerber cools off Bencic to reach Indian Wells final

Gael Monfils retires from Indian Wells

World No. 7 Dominic Thiem reached an ATP Indian Wells Masters semifinal showdown with Milos Raonic without hitting a ball Thursday as injured Gael Monfils withdrew.

Canada's Milos Raonic ended lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic's dream run at the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Thursday, beating the Serbian teen 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals.

Raonic will face the victor of a match between No. 18 seed Gael Monfils of France and No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in a semifinal.

"I wouldn't believe I win today again", Bencic said.

Bencic's victory set up a semifinal against No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat error-prone Venus Williams 7-6 (3), 6-3 in a match-up of 30-somethings.

"I was really surprised", Thiem said, who was waiting to be taken to the court when he realized there was a problem".

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A fact that stood was that not only did Kerber win 68% points off her second serve, she also 62% return points on Williams' second serve.

She had to fight for the lone break of the second set as Williams saved four break points to hold for 2-2 and saved four more in the sixth game before Kerber finally converted one for a 4-2 lead that would stand up the rest of the way. She's here as a wildcard, and she beat a lot of good players. From the get-go, Kerber made strong in-roads into Williams' serve, especially the second serve and was just as relentless on her own serves.

Belinda Bencic in action against Karolina Pliskova (not in frame) during their quarter-final match at Indian Wells on Thursday.

With their first ever meeting going the distance, Bencic took the decider to extend her winning run to 12 matches and back up her upset of top seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round. She won her third career title at Dubai last month and her first since 2015.

"When you're confident, you can really just trust your instincts and you don't have to think about it at all", Bencic said.

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga advanced to the women's semis on Wednesday. Until Kerber stopped her, Williams had won four matches in a row for the first time since previous year in the desert. She'll face No. 6 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Friday.

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