Tennis·ROUNDUP

Swiatek to face Sakkari in women's final at Indian Wells

Poland's Iga Swiatek rallied from a break down in each set to beat Romania's Simona Halep 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Friday night and reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

Russia's Rublev will square off with American Fritz in men's semifinals on Saturday

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after defeating Simona Halep of Romania in their semifinal match at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday night in Indian Wells, Calif. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Iga Swiatek rallied from a break down in each set to beat Simona Halep 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Friday night and reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

Maria Sakkari outlasted defending champion Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 and will play Swiatek in Sunday's final. Swiatek is assured of reaching a new career high of either No. 2 or No. 3 in the world depending on the outcome.

Swiatek saved two set points in the first-set tiebreaker when she overcame deficits of 3-1 and 5-3. She won the the final four points, with Halep committing errors on three of those points, before Swiatek cracked a forehand winner off Halep's second serve. Halep received a racket abuse warning for smashing her racket on the court.

Swiatek took a 2-1 lead in the second set that featured five service breaks. Halep took a medical timeout and had a trainer wrap her upper left thigh.

Halep then broke Swiatek twice while taking the next three games for a 4-2 lead. But Swiatek took over from there. She won the last four games in a row, with Halep winning just four points total on her serve while getting broken twice.

Fritz, Rublev advance on men's side

On the men's side, Taylor Fritz defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1 to reach the semifinals for the second time in five months.

Fritz next plays No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia, who beat Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, 7-5 6-2.

The 24-year-old American is in the midst of the best stretch of his young career, and it all began in the desert in October. That's when the tournament was held last year, pushed out of its traditional March spot because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, Fritz came into Indian Wells ranked 39th in the world. He beat top-10 players Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev before losing in the semis to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

He's now No. 20 — having reached a career-high 16th in February — and is 24-8 since last year's tournament. He's made the quarterfinals in five tournaments and reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in January at the Australian Open.

Fritz made his debut in a Masters 1000 main draw at Indian Wells and notched his first top-10 win here in 2017. His father, Guy Fritz, is a former ATP Tour pro who coaches the men's tennis team at the nearby College of the Desert.

Fritz is the first American to reach consecutive semifinals at Indian Wells since Andy Roddick in 2009-10. The last American to win the tournament was Andre Agassi in 2001; Fritz was 3 years old at the time.

After he and Kecmanovic split sets, Fritz dominated the third. He raced to a 5-0 lead before the Serb held. Fritz then served a love game to close out the match.

Rublev has won 13 consecutive matches and is coming off back-to-back titles in Marseille and Dubai. He never trailed against Dimitrov and dropped serve just once in the 1 1/2-hour match that paired former world No 1 junior players.

Rublev has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Saturday's other semifinal pits Rafael Nadal against 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in an all-Spanish matchup. Nadal is 19-0 this year.

WATCH | Rublev makes plea for no war in Ukraine at Dubai Championships:

Russian tennis star writes 'No War Please' on camera, after match

10 months ago
Duration 0:37
After winning to advance to the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships, world No. 7 Andrey Rublev, who is Russian, wrote "No War Please" on the lens of a broadcast camera.

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