Li and Dolgopolov through to semis at Indian Wells

Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:14pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - China's Li Na won her rematch with Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California on Thursday.

Ukrainian giantkiller Alexandr Dolgopolov also continued his fairytale run in the desert, blunting the booming serve of Canadian Milos Raonic to book his place in the last four of the men's event.

In a tournament that has been packed with surprises and high-profile casualties, the 32-year-old Li has been a model of consistency, ferociously battling through each round.

In her first meeting with the talented Cibulkova since she beat the Slovak in the Australian Open final in January, Li once again proved too strong, winning 6-3 4-6 6-3 in a little over two and a half hours.

Li next meets American Sloane Stephens or Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

The Chinese, the top seed in the absence of world number one Serena Williams, has struggled with her serve all week and committed eight double faults against Cilbukova, four in the opening set and four more in the third when the pressure was on.

The Slovak also made eight doubles while the pair combined for more than 100 unforced errors.

Li got the decisive break late in the third set and then served out for victory to stay on course for her first title at one of the biggest events outside the grand slams.

Dolgopolov has been a revelation at Indian Wells. He was thrust into the spotlight when he scored an upset win over world number one Rafa Nadal in the third round.   Continued...

 
Mar 10, 2014; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Li Na (CHN) during her match against Karolina Pliskova (CZE) during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Li won 6-3, 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports