Three semifinal spots were secured as Iga Swiatek and Sorana Cirstea fought for the last at the 2023 Indian Wells.
Swiatek won already 15 matches this season but she also lost three times and Cirstea, who stunned the fifth-seeded Caroline Garcia in the fourth round, certainly wanted to add her name to this prestigious list.
But it wouldn't be an easy task for the Romanian. The two met once back in 2022, and despite Cirstea putting on a good fight, the Pole won in three sets, advancing to the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Their second meeting on the WTA Tour started better for Swiatek, who beat Emma Raducanu in the previous round. She broke her opponent's first service game and as often in her matches, she led 2-0 early on.
But Cirstea showed that she didn't come just to participate. In the longest game of the first set, she broke the young Pole back and leveled the score of the first set at two games each.
However, in the sixth game, the world no. 1 put pressure on her opponent and Cirstea couldn't handle it. She hit a double fault on a crucial and subsequently made an unforced error to give the Pole a one-break lead once again.
This time, Swiatek didn't lose her advantage and she even added one more break, winning the first set 6-2 in just 41 minutes. Cirstea, who recorded 16 wins against Top 10 players in her career, had to do something special in the second set to stun the world no. 1, but she just didn't have it.
Swiatek continued to impress, securing an early break against her opponent one cagain. As the second set unfolded, the talented Polish player transformed the match into a one-woman show, and she was the star.
Cirstea was supported by the Romanian fans in the stands who wanted to see her make the world no. 1 struggle. And maybe that support gave her enough courage to break the Pole and give herself a brief chance in the second set.
But Swiatek shifted gears once again and won the match 6-2, 6-3 to set up a semifinal meeting with Elena Rybakina, who defeated Karolina Muchova.