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Pliskova battles past Muguruza to reach Indian Wells semis

REUTERS - World number three Karolina Pliskova overcame a stern test to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday after edging French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 7-6(2)7-6(5) at Indian Wells.

Pliskova let a 5-2 lead slip away in the second set before recovering to earn the victory after a two-hour battle.

She advances to face Svetlana Kuznetsova, who earlier defeated fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2.

Pliskova, who won the Qatar Open title last month, looked poised to advance after breaking her opponent’s service twice in the second set and was serving for the match at 5-2.

However, Muguruza rallied and pushed the match to another tiebreaker, where Pliskova pulled herself together and sealed the victory.

Two-time major winner Kuznetsova was determined not to lose to compatriot Pavlyuchenkova for a third time this year.

“I lost two times this year, so today was kind of an important match," Kuznetsova said. "I know I felt much better on the court. It was good to focus.”

Kuznetsova, ranked eighth in the world, is bidding to reach the final at Indian Wells for a third time after runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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