Kuznetsova, Pliskova into semis

Russian number-eight seed Svetlana Kuznetsova booked her spot in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday after easily defeating compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 6-2.

The win takes the 31-year-old into the semis at Indian Wells for the first time in nine years, with the veteran Russian dropping just one set so far in the tournament.

“Today was kind of important match,” Kuznetsova said in her on-court interview. “I lost [in] Sydney, I lost [in] Melbourne. I knew I was not playing my best back then. [On Wednesday] I felt much better on the court, so it was very important to focus.”

Kuznetsova will play Karolina Pliskova in the semis for a place in the final after the world number three moved into the last four with a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) win over reigning Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza.

The other four quarterfinalists are scheduled to play on Thursday, when Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki (13) faces Kristina Mladenovic (28) of France, while Venus Williams (12) will play against Russia’s Elena Vesnina (14).

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