Thiem beats Raonic, advance to Indian Wells final

Thiem beats Raonic, advance to Indian Wells final

Dominic Thiem outlasted Canadian Milos Raonic in three sets Saturday to reach the BNP Paribas Open final, where he'll meet Roger Federer who advanced after Rafael Nadal withdrew with a knee injury.

The teenager certainly made the most of it. Kecmanovic got by three players, including 30th-seeded Laslo Djere, in straight sets to set up his second meeting with Raonic.

Thiem was given a free pass into the semis when the French showman Gael Monfils withdrew from their quarterfinal match-up citing a badly strained Achilles tendon in his left leg. Thiem will now face Milos Raonic, who leads their head to head 2-0.

"I wanted to try my best to be competitive today", a dejected Nadal said.

Thiem has never won a Masters 1000 title, losing in two previous finals.

"I was really surprised", Thiem said, who was waiting to be taken to the court when he realized there was a problem". "I have this pain, and it wasn't the right choice to play".

Thiem has lost both of his prior matches against Raonic, who ended the dream run of lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic, beating the 19-year-old Serbian 6-3, 6-4.

"My goal is to play on all the surfaces", he said.

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An error-prone Venus Williams lost 7-6 (3), 6-3 to No. 8 Angelique Kerber in a matchup of 30-somethings.

In the women's singles, Belinda Bencic beat fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the semis, ensuring her return to the top 20 in the rankings.

The Canadian is a former finalist here and he pushed the better-ranked opponents to the limits before suffering the only break of serve in the fifth game of the deciding set that determined the victor and the second finalist. An unreturned serve sent Dominic 4-2 up and he blasted another one in game eight, maintaining the lead and serving for the win at 5-4. But Kerber held in the next game to force the tiebreaker, which she dominated. "Going for it when she put the lob ones and the high ones and the short ones". "So was this our chance at a last one - I hope not and I believe at the level he's playing and the level I'm still going there's definitely going to be more".

Williams alternately smacked winners from the baseline and sprayed shots beyond the lines.

But Williams hasn't made it farther than the quarterfinals at any Premier Mandatory or Grand Slam tourney since last year's BNP Paribas Open. Federer won the last time they played at the ATP Finals in London in November.

He has accepted a wild card into the qualifying draw in Miami, which will mark the first time he's played a qualifying tournament since 2007 at Queen's Club.

"Still tough because I felt more or less OK during this beginning of the season in terms of my knee", he said.

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