Dominic Thiem and Milos Raonic will contest the first of the semi-final at the Indian Wells Masters though much of the attention will be focused on the second which could well feature Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal who have yet to clear their quarter-final hurdles.
As soon as I had a chance on the first forehand, I was able to find my way to be the one dictating the point. And I put a lot of returns in and gave myself a chance there. Milos Raonic
Thiem will be the fresher of the pair having come through on a walkover when Gael Monfils retired with an injury to his left Achiles tendon, while Raonic ended the dream run of ‘lucky loser’ Miomir Kecmanovic, beating the 19-year-old Serbian 6-3 6-4.
Raonic, ranked 14th in the world, fired 13 aces and broke Kecmanovic once in each set to keep his bid to better his 2016 runner-up finish on track.
Kecmanovic, who failed to make it through qualifying but gained entry to the main draw when fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson withdrew, was the first ‘lucky loser’ to reach the last eight at Indian Wells since 1990.
Raonic’s serve wasn’t at its booming best. He put only 55 percent of his first serves in play.
“I think that can get better,” Raonic said. “But there’s other things I’m doing well, for sure. As soon as I had a chance on the first forehand, I was able to find my way to be the one dictating the point. And I put a lot of returns in and gave myself a chance there.”
Meanwhile the often-injured Monfils revealed that his injury first came to light after his fourth-round win over Philipp Kohlschreiber on Wednesday.
“I tried a little jog this morning, and I couldn’t really actually push on it,” he said.
“Then we taped it. Then I hit a little bit tonight, and I felt that I cannot be 100 percent. I have this pain, and it wasn’t the right choice to play.”
He said an ultrasound exam confirmed severe inflammation, and he wasn’t yet sure if it would prevent him from playing the upcoming Miami Masters.
“Very disappointing, to be honest,” said Monfils, who was enjoying a 15-3 start to the season, adding: “Because I was playing great tennis, feeling strong.”
His withdrawal means Thiem is through to the semi-finals at Indian Wells for the first time, having reached the quarters once before in 2017.
“I was really surprised,” Thiem said. “I’m really sorry for him. Obviously we are both playing well here. He’s having a great season. I’m picking up my form again. So I think it would have been very tough but also a very fun match for us, for the crowd. So it’s a pity,” said Thiem who now has the task of beating Raonic for the first time in what will be their third encounter.