Indian Wells Tennis 2019: Angelique Kerber Advances; Gael Monfils Withdraws

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14:  Angelique  Kerber of Germany shakes hands at the net after her straight sets victory  against Venus Williams of the United States in their women's singles quarter final match on day eleven of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 14, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The 2019 BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California continued to heat up on Thursday, as semifinals spots were on the line.

Angelique Kerber and Milos Raonic were among the top players to take the court, and Venus Williams also make an appearance Thursday.

Meanwhile, an Achilles injury forced Gael Monfils to withdraw before his match against Dominic Thiem. Monfils expressed his regret to the crowd, per the BNP Paribas Open: "I would like to thank you for everything you give me."

Below is a look at the latest action from Indian Wells.

           

Men's Draw

(13) Milos Raonic def. Miomir Kecmanovic, 6-3, 6-4

(7) Dominic Thiem def. (18) Gael Monfils (withdrew due to injury)

              

Women's Draw

(23) Belinda Bencic def. (5) Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

(8) Angelique Kerber def. Venus Williams, 7-6 (3), 6-3

*Full results available on the tournament's official website.

           

Notable Match

Angelique Kerber def. Venus Williams, 7-6 (3), 6-3

Venus Williams' quest for her first career Indian Wells title ended Thursday, but she didn't go down without a fight.

The first set took nearly an hour to complete, as the two needed a tiebreaker to settle the score. While neither had been able to gain much of an edge for the majority of the first set, Kerber took control in the tiebreaker:

And she never looked back.

The second set did not feature quite as much drama. After Williams held strong through the first four games, Kerber eventually pulled away to finish off her opponent.

It may have been a straight-set victory for Kerber, but it was far from an easy win.

The two competitors were nearly even on first-serve points percentage (Kerber 65, Williams 64), but Kerber (17) owned the edge over Williams (10) in total points won on the second serve. Winning the point on 16 of her 26 second-service points proved to be a key factor for Kerber.

The victor talked about the "tough match" afterward:

With Williams' loss, the Americans' drought at Indian Wells continues. No American woman has won the singles title at the tournament since Serena Williams in 2001.

Kerber's victory sets up a semifinals clash with Bencic. It marks Kerber's third career trip to the semifinals, her first since 2013. She has never made it to the championship match at Indian Wells.

                 

What's Next

The tournament will continue on both sides Friday, with the women competing for a spot in the finals while the men will look to fill the remaining spots in the semifinals.

On the women's side, No. 6 Elina Svitolina will take on Bianca Andreescu for a chance to compete for the Indian Wells title. The other semifinal matchup features a showdown between Bencic and Kerber.

Meanwhile, the men's draw will feature quarterfinal matches between No. 4 Roger Federer and Hubert Hurkacz as well as No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 12 Karen Khachanov. 

Friday's action begins with the men's draw getting underway at 2 p.m. ET.

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