Bencic wins at Indian Wells semis, ensuring return to top 20

Bencic wins at Indian Wells semis, ensuring return to top 20
Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, returns a shot to Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Belinda Bencic has beaten Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the BNP Paribas Open semifinals, ensuring her return to the top 20 in the rankings.

Bencic was pushed to three sets Thursday for the first time in four matches at this tournament. She was coming off a straight-set upset of defending champion and top-ranked Naomi Osaka in the fourth round.

Bencic next plays the winner of Thursday’s match between No. 8 Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams.

Bencic improved to 18-3 this year. She won her third career title at Dubai last month and her first since 2015. The 22-year-old Swiss player missed five months in 2017 after wrist surgery.

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