Tennis news • Rublev continues to roll, Fritz finds himself in the semi-finals of Indian Wells BNP

Andrey Rublev of Russia in action against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, United States, March 18, 2022. EPA-EFE/JOHN G MABANGLO

By Ricky Dimon

Andrey Rublev has won 13 consecutive matches. If he can extend the streak to 15, that will also give him three titles in a row.

After back-to-back triumphs in Marseille and Dubai, Rublev reached the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open beating Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 6-1 on Friday afternoon.

“I think I played very well from the start,” said the world number 7. “It was about who started dictating the points and playing more aggressively. We both like to take the forehand and be aggressive.

It’s going to take something special to beat Rublev in Indian Wells. But “special” is exactly what the rest of the semi-finals roster is. It also includes Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz. Nadal and Alcaraz are 32-1 combined this season and are on a 29-game winning streak. Fritz has now reached the semifinals in Indian Wells – essentially his hometown tournament – ​​twice in the space of five months.

It will be Rublev against Fritz on Saturday after the California native held off Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1 in an hour and 57 minutes.

After a competitive first set, Fritz had two break point chances in the first game of the second, another at 1-1 and two more at 3-3. He couldn’t capitalize, however, and the disappointment led to a sudden and complete surrender on serve at 3-4. Fritz had only been pushed to a deuce on his serve once in the entire match, but he broke in love in part due to a pair of double faults.

Taylor Fritz of the United States reacts after defeating Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, United States, 18 March 2022. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

Kecmanovic went through the rest of the set, but there was still momentum to come – and it was a big one. Fritz kicked five straight games to start the third set and by then it was all over for the Serb.

“I’m really happy with how it went,” Fritz said. “He was playing hard from the baseline. Maybe I gave him too much. I felt like I couldn’t really follow up on his serve and he started to serve better in the second set. I don’t know what I did on my serve (at 3-4). I really don’t want to talk about it. I never want to think about it again. I really don’t even know what happened. I hope no one saw that… I just regrouped and found my way into the third set; I accumulated more points in the third.

The world No. 20 is 2-2 lifetime against Rublev. Saturday’s second semi-final will be the second career meeting between fellow Spaniards Nadal and Alcaraz.

Ricky contributes and also maintains its own tennis website, The gallery. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.

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