For the second straight match, Stan Wawrinka was forced to call on his vast reserves of confidence, experience and mental strength.
The No.3 seed overcame the challenge of Dominic Thiem on Thursday night at Indian Wells, winning 6-4 4-6 7-6(2) in more than two-and-a-half hours at Stadium 1.
The victory sends him through to his first Indian Wells semifinal in 10 visits to the Californian desert; his previous best results were quarterfinals in 2008 and 2011.
He will next face Pablo Carreno Busta.
“It was a really good match, playing Dominic who is a really strong player, is playing really well,” Wawrinka said.
“Not only was I playing well but I really enjoyed tonight, it was a great atmosphere, some great rallies.
“We were playing quite fast from the baseline, trying to be really aggressive in the court. I think the level was good; of course we did some mistakes because we were trying to be really aggressive. But I think in general the player who was the more aggressive, who was dictating, was winning most of the points.
“I’m really happy to serve really well in the tiebreaker.”
The match was indeed characterised by some huge hitting; both men camped behind the baseline and took huge cuts and the ball, their shotmaking prowess wowing the crowd.
Wawrinka, who’s level fluctuated throughout the night, looked headed for a more routine victory when he surged to a 3-0 lead in the final set. Yet Thiem was able to level it at 3-3.
The Swissk, however, had the advantage of serving first; after holding for a 6-5 lead, he arrived at match point in the 12th game.
Thiem staved it off with some brave hitting to send the set to a tiebreak, but his errors let him down against an increasingly steady Wawrinka.
For the second straight night, after scraping past Yoshihito Nishioka, Wawrinka claimed victory in a third-set tiebreak.
“Of course I’m really happy to win in a tiebreak in the third set and it’s really good to be in a semifinal here,” said the world No.3
“It feels great. It was a really great atmosphere after coming back to the States after winning the US Open (last year).
“For me it’s great, I’m really happy to play well again here and to have the chance to keep winning.”
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