Kerber crashes out as Pliskova reaches Indian Wells quarters
Angelique Kerber's run at the BNP Paribas Open came to an end in the last 16, while Karolina Pliskova booked a quarter-final berth.
Set to reclaim the world number one ranking from Serena Williams, second seed Kerber did not look like a player poised to return to the WTA summit after she was bundled out by fellow seed Elena Vesnina.
The two-time grand-slam champion farewelled Indian Wells in straight sets on Tuesday.
Czech third seed Pliskova had no such trouble after Swiss opponent Timea Bacsinszky retired in the first set.
American veteran Venus Williams also progressed to the last eight of the WTA Premier tournament.
KERBER'S WOES CONTINUE
The 29-year-old took the WTA circuit by storm last year, winning the Australian and US Opens.
She also reached the Wimbledon decider, while claiming silver at the Rio Olympics.
However, 2017 has not gone according to plan for Kerber as she looks a shadow of the major-winning player.
Kerber is 9-6 following her loss to Vesnina and she is yet to contest a final this year.
PLISKOVA BENEFITS FROM RETIREMENT
The third seed did not have to complete her match as she punched her ticket into the last eight.
Pliskova was up 5-1 in the opening set when Bacsinszky retired due to a left wrist injury.
"I saw it during the first few games that she wasn't hitting many backhands," Pliskova said. "Just a few in the second game. For her it was tough for her to play without the backhand, so there was no other way probably."
Next up for Pliskova is reigning French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who snapped Elina Svitolina's 15-match winning streak with a 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 6-0 triumph.
VENUS MARCHES ON
The Australian Open runner-up was forced to come from behind as she battled past Peng Shuai.
It was another turnaround for Williams, who prevailed 3-6 6-1 6-3, having fended off a match point against Jelena Jankovic earlier in the week.
The seven-time grand-slam champion is now 10-2 for 2017 as she prepares for her second quarter-final of the year against Vesnina.
CIBULKOVA FALLS IN ANOTHER COMEBACK BID
Dominika Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open finalist, produced a jaw-dropping fightback to oust Kristyna Pliskova in the third round but there was no repeat of her heroics against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Pavlyuchenkova withstood a Cibulkova rally to triumph 6-4 3-6 6-2.
Competing in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells for the first time since 2009, Pavlyuchenkova will face fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last eight.
Kuznetsova - the eighth seed - eased past Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-4.
Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki and Kristina Mladenovic will meet in the quarters.