Raonic ends lucky loser's run at Indian Wells

Heather Diaz
March 16, 2019

Women: Belinda Bencic bt Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; Angelique Kerber bt Venus Williams 7-6 (3), 6-3.

From 4-2 down, the World No.8 ran off the last four games of a high-quality opener which saw almost 20 winners combined between the two players, and Kerber broke the No.23 seed for the third time from 30-0 down in the set's last game. She's improved to 18-3 this year, ensuring her return to the top 20 in the rankings.

It took Kerber several games in the opening set to get used to Williams' changing tactics.

Raonic is looking for his ninth career ATP Tour title, but has never won at the top level below Grand Slams - Masters 1000. Kerber has won seven of her last nine matches on outdoor hard court.

Though she lost serve to begin the second set, Kerber rebounded immediately as the two traded breaks twice in the second set, before she won the last three games to seal the match and her spot in the final.

This Indian Wells is "not over" for Monfils since he will definitely be there on Friday to support his girlfriend Elina Svitolina that will play the semifinal against Bianca Andreescu.

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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 broke Williams in the match's longest game that went to deuce five times when Williams' forehand went wide.

"I played the best I could here", she said.

Williams alternately smacked winners from the baseline and sprayed shots beyond the lines. Bencic has now won 15 of her last 17 matches overall and has won seven straight matches that have gone the distance.

He has accepted a wild card into the qualifying draw in Miami, which will mark the first time he's played a qualifying tournament since 2007 at Queen's Club. She was coming off a straight-set upset of defending champion and top-ranked Naomi Osaka in the fourth round.

The 23rd-seeded Bencic started hot in the California desert, taking the first set with 14 winners and only six unforced errors, but Czech Pliskova hit back in the second. Kerber also has a shot to make her first ever final appearance in a Premier Mandatory. I'm just trying to play.

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