‘Foe sure – Frances books semis spot

AMERICAN Frances Tiafoe continued his strong form of the past 12 months to book his first ever ATP Masters 1000 semi-final following a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Brit, Cameron Norrie today. The United States representative proved far too strong for the red-hot Norrie, recording a 6-4 6-4 victory to set up a semi-final clash with Daniil Medvedev at the BNP Paribas Open.

The match was delayed due to rain earlier in the day, but once the sky opened up and the crowd got involved, the home nation representative gave them something to cheer about.

Though Norrie was coming off a remarkable title in Rio de Janeiro that included a come-from-behind win over world number two Carlos Alcaraz, and a dominant performance against sixth seed Andrey Rublev yesterday, he would not be able to match the incredible shotmaking of Tiafore.

Having not won more than two matches at an event in 2023, Tiafoe stamped his ticket into the semi-finals with a straight sets win over Norrie, his fourth win at the Indian Wells event this year.

The American won a dominant 77 per cent of his first serve points, and broke four times to two, weathering seven aces off his opponent’s racquet during the 6-4 6-4 victory in an hour and 40 minutes.

“I am really happy. I feel like when I am there mentally, I am one of the best players in the world,” Tiafoe said post-match. “Today it is not just about getting to the semis, I am happy to beat a guy like that, who has been playing so well.

“To be able to come out here and beat him in straight sets, is relatively comfortable. At the end, it got a little tricky, but it was pretty one-way traffic and I am really happy with where my game is at.”

Tiafoe will take on fifth seed Medvedev after the Russian defeated 23rd seed Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the other quarter final.

Medvedev was shaky off his second serve with seven double faults and 55 per cent of points won, but did enough off his first to win 33 of 39, and save all six break points he faced to win, 6-3 7-5 in an hour and 46 minutes. The Russian also overcame early ankle soreness to play out a “crazy” contest.

“I’m actually happy the ankle didn’t hurt much because when I warmed up, it was hurting pretty bad,” Medvedev said post-match.

“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.”

Knowing Tiafoe was his next opponent, Medvedev is under no illusions of how tough the match will be at Indian Wells, rating him among the best players on Tour when at his best, despite boating a 4-0 head-to-head against him.

“He’s playing great,” Medvedev said. “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.”

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