Stan Wawrinka has reached the semi-finals at the Indian Wells Masters for the first time to improve on his previous best of three quarter-finals in the Californian desert.
I'm really happy the way I was playing, the way I found a way to win it
The Swiss star managed to get the better of the eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem, 6-4 4-6 7-6(2) in a marathon contest and will now face Pablo Carreno Busta, the 21st seed, on Saturday for a place in the final.
In what proved to be a bit of a topsy-turvy match with Wawrinka losing his hold in the second set to be forced into a decider which lasted more than an hour.
Thiem saved a match point before forcing it into the tie-break where again it took a while before Wawrinka took control to capture his allotted place in the last four.
In the other quarter-final played earlier, Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Pablo Cuevas 6-1 3-6 7-6(4).
"The level was really high tonight," Wawrinka, 31, said in his on-court interview. "I’m really happy the way I was playing, the way I found a way to win it.
"The player who was the most aggressive, was dictating, was winning most of the points. I’m really happy to have served well in the tiebreak. I think that was the key."
Carreno BustaÈs arrival in the semis marks the best run he has had at Masters level thanks to facing two qualifiers and receiving a walkover before encountering his doubles partner.
"With Pablo, I need to be very focused on my game, very aggressive," Carreno Busta said. "I will be in the top 20, and that was my objective when I started the year. We’ve only in March, so it’s good news for me. But I need to keep working."
In the womenÈs draw Elena Vesnina defeated Venus Williams while Kristina Mladenovic recovered from a set and a break down to beat Caroline Wozniacki to reach the semi-finals.
Williams fought off three match points in the eighth game and had six chances to bring it back on serve in the next before the 14th-seeded Russian finally held to finish a gutsy 6-2 4-6 6-3 win after two hours and 11-minutes.
"At the end of the match, I don’t know how I won that game from 0-40," Vesnina, who had ousted second seed Angelique Kerber to reach the quarters, said in an on-court interview.
Mladenovic, the 28th seed, beat the 13th seed and 2011 winner Wozniacki 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2 to reach her first Premier Mandatory semi-final after two hours and 33-minutes.
"She’s on fire. So am I," said Vesnina. "One of us can be in the final. We will see tomorrow."