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Tennis news • Rublev keeps on rolling, Fritz finds himself back in Indian Wells BNP semifinals

Andrey Rublev of Russia in action against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 18 March 2022. EPA-EFE/JOHN G MABANGLO

By Ricky Dimon

Andrey Rublev has won 13 consecutive matches. If he can extend the streak to 15, it will also give him three titles in a row.

Coming off back-to-back triumphs in Marseille and Dubai, Rublev reached the BNP Paribas Open semifinals by beating Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 6-1 on Friday afternoon.

“I think that I played really well since the beginning,” said the world No. 7. “It was about who started to dictate the points and play more aggressive. Both of us like to take the forehand and be aggressive.”

It’s going to take something special to beat Rublev in Indian Wells. But “special” is just what the rest of the semifinal lineup is. It also includes Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, and Taylor Fritz. Nadal and Alcaraz boast a combined 32-1 record this season and are on a combined 29-match winning streak. Fritz has now reached the semis in Indian Wells–basically his hometown tournament–twice in the span of five months.

It will be Rublev vs. Fritz on Saturday after the California native held off Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 57 minutes.

Following a competitive opening set, Fritz had two break-point opportunities in the first game of the second, another at 1-1, and two more at 3-3. He could not capitalize, however, and the disappointment led to a sudden and complete capitulation on serve at 3-4. Fritz had been pushed to deuce on his serve only once in the entire match, but he got broken at love due in part to a pair of double-faults.

Taylor Fritz of the United States reacts after defeating Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 18 March 2022. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

Kecmanovic cruised through the rest of the set, but there was one more momentum swing to come–and it was a big one. Fritz fired off five straight games to begin the third set and at that point it was all over for the Serb.

“I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Fritz assured. “He was playing tough from the baseline. I was maybe giving him too much. I felt I couldn’t really string together on his serve and he started serving better in the second set. I don’t know what I did on my serve (at 3-4). I really just don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it ever again. I really don’t even know what happened. I hope no one saw that…. I just regrouped and found a way in the third set; I put more points together in the third.”

The world No. 20 is 2-2 lifetime against Rublev. Saturday’s second semifinal will be the second career meeting between fellow Spaniards Nadal and Alcaraz.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.