Azarenka, Pliskova ease into final four at Indian Wells

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Victoria Azarenka continued her fine 2016 form after dishing out a double bagel to Magdalena Rybarikova as she reached the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Azarenka - the 2012 champion - was in a relentless mood, accounting for the Slovakian 6-0 6-0 in 67 minutes at Indian Wells.

The 13th-seeded Belarusian, who won the Brisbane International leading into the Australian Open in January, converted six of 11 break points as she improved to 14-1 on the WTA Tour this season, setting up a final-four showdown with Karolina Pliskova in the process.


CAREER HIGHLIGHT FOR PLISKOVA

Pliskova - the 18th seed - reached a WTA Premier Mandatory semi-final for the first time in her career after ending Daria Kasatkina's remarkable run at Indian Wells.

Russian teenager Kasatkina, 18, had seen off 12th seed Timea Bacsinszky en route to the last eight but she was unable to repeat the feat against Pliskova, who triumphed 6-3 6-2.

Pliskova was kept at bay until the sixth game of the opening set as she broke with a powerful forehand and she was at it again in the second, breaking immediately in a match lasting a little over an hour.


GIFTS NOT ON THE MENU AT INDIAN WELLS

Pliskova hit 30 winners and tallied just 10 unforced errors against Kasatkina on Stadium 1.

Azarenka fended off all four break points she faced in the second set.

This was Azarenka's second double bagel of the year, having dismantled Alison Van Uytvanck at the Australian Open.

Rybarikova won just nine of 29 points on her second serve.


NO REST FOR THE WICKED

An hour after seeing off Kasatkina, Pliskova partnered with Julia Goerges as the pair won through to the women's doubles final via a 6-4 6-3 win over Sara Errani and Oksana Kalashnikova.

"It's one of the biggest tournaments in the world, so every result here is important," said Pliskova. "It's my first biggest final in the doubles, and especially happy to be there with my partner Julia."


POSITIVITY ALL ROUND POST-MATCH

Despite losing to Pliskova, Kasatkina was upbeat given her rise on the WTA Tour, having competed on the ITF circuit this time last year: "Now I'm top 40. Last year I was 340. Yeah, it was pretty fast."

"I was really happy with the way I played, I think it was one of the best matches that I played here so far," Pliskova said. "I played some good tennis this week, and then there is Miami [next week], so I have chances to improve my ranking and get close to the top 10 again."


ALL EYES ON SERENA AND RADWANSKA

The women's semi-finals are the focus on Friday, with world number one Serena Williams facing third seed Agnieszka Radwanska for a spot in the final. It is also a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final, where Williams dispatched of the Pole in straight sets at Melbourne Park in January. Azarenka and Pliskova also meet.