The first semifinal is set at the Indian Wells Masters, and it’s two new faces to the last four stage in the desert. Both Daniil Medvedev and Frances Tiafoe are into their first Indian Wells semifinal.
Yesterday, Tiafoe cruised past former champion Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 to reach his very first Masters semifinal.
“I just think the vibes all around. I’ve been super happy being here, I think the experience on and off court. Yeah, I think getting three solid wins before today comfortably, you know, I have a lot in the tank,” Tiafoe said.
Yeah, I think every win builds more and more confidence, get more and more comfortable. Here we are.
The 25-year-old Tiafoe hit four aces, was 4 of 9 on break chances, faced 7 break chances. Tiafoe was broken twice, Tiafoe broke serve four times in the match. He grabbed the lone break of the first to go up 4-3 and then got the better of the break battle in the second for his first win over the Brit.
“I’m using my speed a lot more to be aggressive, not just to react to balls and out the corners and stuff,” Tiafoe added. “I’m doing that much better now. Using my speed to be aggressive, coming forward much more, sticking volleys, and just being athletic out there.
“It’s tough for guys. I’m really coming at you. Yeah, he didn’t have any response for me today. Cam’s going to be Cam and make it tough for me at the end. I blinked a little there at the end, but for the most part I thought it was one-way traffic.”
Medvedev shook off that right ankle injury from a day earlier to get by 23rd-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straights 6-3, 7-5.
“I’m actually happy the ankle didn’t hurt much because when I warmed up, it was hurting pretty bad,” Medvedev told the ATP. “I knew I was going to play, I knew I was going to try. But I couldn’t move well on the warm-up. I tried to warm it up as long as possible, took one painkiller so that probably helped. I was actually feeling better and better during the match.
“The match was absolutely crazy. I could talk about this for 15 minutes, but just really happy to go through such a tough match with such tough conditions with the wind.”
Medvedev, ranked No. 6, lost just six points on first serve and never lost serve, saving all six break chances faced.
Medvedev the Spaniard in his first service game to quickly take control. In the second, Davidovich Fokina had chances to break in four different games, but all swatted aside by the Russian.
Medvedev had missed break chances at 3-all but got it done at 5-all. He won seven of the last nine points. And he overcame a cut thumb in the process.
Davidovich Fokina drops to 3-17 against Top 10 players and 0-3 against Medvedev.
Medvedev makes his 41st career semifinal, his 10th at the Masters level and first at Indian Wells. He has won his last 18 matches.
“It’s amazing,” Medvedev said of his level. “It’s very tough to have these streaks, you know, in tennis. Yeah, you always have an opponent on the other side who wants to beat you. Everyone wants to be in the semis of Masters, finals, winning the tournament.
“So it’s tough, because anybody can beat you any moment. When you manage to win that many matches in a row, it’s just a pleasant feeling. Three titles. But right now, yeah, my mind is definitely 100% here in Indian Wells. I want to try to get these last two matches.
“I’m sure Frances is feeling great right now and playing great. And it’s going to be the same for guys who win tomorrow. But I feel great, and hopefully I can continue this way this season, because it’s been a long time I haven’t felt this way.”
Medvedev leads Tiafoe 4-0.
“He’s playing great,” Medvedev said looking ahead to the Saturday semifinals. “Frances is a very pumped-up, fiery player, so he can beat anyone on a good day. I’m sure he can beat Novak, Rafa. He actually did beat Rafa in the US Open, which is huge. For sure I need to try my best to keep this head-to-head at zero. That’s never easy and I just have to show my best tennis and try to beat such a great opponent.”
Today’s quarterfinals are led by No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz battling No. 8 Felix Auger-Aliassime. Auger Aliassime has won all three of their tour-level head-to-head contests including their last meeting in the 2022 Basel semifinals.
No. 4 seed Taylor Fritz resumes his title defense against No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner. Fritz was the victor in their only previous collision two years ago at Indian Wells.
THURSDAY INDIAN WELLS SCHEDULE
Matches Start At: 11:00 am
WTA Karolina Muchova (CZE) vs Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 
WTA Iga Swiatek (POL)  vs Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP Taylor FRITZ (USA)  vs Jannik SINNER (ITA) 
Not Before 6:00 pm
ATP Carlos ALCARAZ (ESP)  vs Felix AUGER-ALIASSIME (CAN) 
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