Sat, Mar 16, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Raonic ends lucky loser Kecmanovic’s run

AP, INDIAN WELLS, California

Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan return to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova during their women’s doubles semi-final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Milos Raonic on Thursday made sure Miomir Kecmanovic’s good luck finally ran out at the BNP Paribas Open.

Raonic beat the 19-year-old Serb 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals and improve to 19-4 at Indian Wells since 2014.

Raonic fired 13 aces against no double faults in putting away Kecmanovic in 72 minutes on a sunny, windy and cool day in the Southern California desert.

“Even when I was hitting the spots, I wasn’t hitting them that well,” Raonic said about his serving. “I think that can get better.”

He will try to improve against world No. 7 Dominic Thiem, who advanced via walkover when No. 18 Gael Monfils announced on court that he could not play because of a left Achilles injury.

At 15-3 this year, Monfils was off to the best start of his career, but he was 0-4 against Thiem.

Kecmanovic was the first lucky loser to reach the quarter-finals at the tournament since it became a Masters 1000 event in 1990.

Ranked 130th in the world, the Serb lost in qualifying, but his fortune soon turned.

Three seeded players withdrew before the tournament began, clearing the way for Kecmanovic to become a lucky loser and receive a first-round bye.

The teenager certainly made the most of it. Kecmanovic got by three players in straight sets to set up his second meeting with Raonic, but that is where his luck ended.

Raonic won 88 percent of his first-serve points and saved all three break chances against him.

In the women’s singles, Belinda Bencic beat fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the semis, ensuring her return to the top 20 in the rankings.

“I wouldn’t believe I win today again,” Bencic said. “I’m not going to the court with any expectation. I’m just trying to play.”

Bencic’s victory set up a semi-final against eighth seed Angelique Kerber, who beat error-prone Venus Williams 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

It took Kerber several games in the opening set to get used to Williams’ changing tactics.

“She changed the rhythm a little bit,” Kerber said. “Going for it when she put the lob ones and the high ones and the short ones.”

Williams’ right knee was taped and she did not appear to be moving with ease or serving with much pace.

Williams has not made it farther than the quarter-finals at any Premier Mandatory or Grand Slam tournament since last year’s BNP Paribas Open.

In the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching were sent off just short of the finals by Czech first seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, but have more to look forward to as they continue their doubles career together.

Before their 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 10-6 defeat, the sisters spoke with the WTA Web site about their sometimes rocky partnership.

“To be honest, playing with your sibling is not that easy at the beginning,” Latisha Chan said. “We are four years apart in age, so some types of level, tennis or mental, especially when you are that young, your levels can be so different.”

The two split in 2017 after a series of losses, finding success with other partners.

After two years spent without the added pressure of a joint tennis career, they decided during the off-season to give their partnership another go.

“We are the one who is closest in our lives, so you can be really straightforward,” Latisha Chan said. “That can be a bonus, but it can also be a thing that’s against us, so I’m happy that finally now we are mature enough to manage that.”

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