Iga Swiatek into Indian Wells semis as Caroline Wozniacki retires, Coco Gauff advances

World number one Iga Swiatek advanced to the Indian Wells semi-finals after Caroline Wozniacki retired hurt during their quarter-final. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

World number one Iga Swiatek advanced to the Indian Wells semi-finals after Caroline Wozniacki retired hurt during their quarter-final. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

Published Mar 15, 2024


World number one Iga Swiatek had just got rolling when she found herself in the Indian Wells semi-finals on Thursday as Caroline Wozniacki retired from their quarter-final with a foot injury.

The intriguing match-up between the current and former number ones saw 33-year-old Wozniacki race to a 4-1 lead.

But 22-year-old Swiatek found her range and reeled off six straight games, pocketing the first set 6-4 and taking a 1-0 lead in the second before Wozniacki called a halt, having received treatment for an apparent blister on her right foot at the end of the first set.

Swiatek, the 2022 Indian Wells champion, booked a semi-final meeting with Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk, who beat Russian Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 7-5.

US Open champion Coco Gauff reached the Indian Wells semis for the first time, beting China's Yuan Yue 6-4, 6-3.

Swiatek said it was a "sad" way to gain her win over Wozniacki in the second match between the two.

The first was back in 2019 — seven months after Swiatek made her WTA main draw debut and five months before Wozniacki retired.

Wozniacki, now a mother of two who returned to the circuit last season, started strong in her bid for a first win over a reigning number one since she beat Simona Halep to win the 2018 Australian Open.

But Swiatek, who won the title in Doha last month before a semi-final exit in Dubai, gradually hit her stride — closing out the opening set with an ace.

"I just wanted to hit the ball more clean, honestly, because it wasn't easy," Swiatek said of her early struggles. "I had many chances, but with her defense she's putting pressure on the opponents. You're playing forehand, backhand and everywhere.

"She's running a lot and giving everything back. So sometimes I made mistakes, you know, I couldn't really finish the rally.

"I wanted to really just stay patient and calm and try to be more solid. In the second set I felt like I can go for it — I wanted also to influence some stuff in the second set but I didn't get a chance."

Gauff hangs on

Kostyuk, in contrast, got off to a hot start then quashed Potapova's comeback bid to reach her first 1000-level semi-final.

Kostyuk got to grips with the blustery conditions to roar through the opening set in just 22 minutes.

The second set looked to be following the same pattern as Kostyuk raced to a 3-0 lead before Potapova managed to win a game.

She then broke Kostyuk to put it back on serve and suddenly Kostyuk found herself in a battle.

She finally polished it off with one last break of serve, advancing when Potapova put a forehand into the net on her rival's second match point.

Gauff, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Wednesday, became the youngest US woman to reach the Indian Wells semi-finals since Serena Williams in 2001.

Gauff overcame 17 double faults but broke Yuan's serve five times, rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to close it out against the world number 49, who won her first WTA title in Austin two weeks ago.

"I'm really happy to be through today's match," Gauff said. "It wasn't the best style of the serving, but overall I think when it comes to the groundstroke game and returns, everything else, honestly, I played well."

In Friday's semi-finals Gauff will face ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, who beat American Emma Navarro 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.