Tennis: Kerber holds off Venus to reach Indian Wells semi-finals

Germany's Angelique Kerber (above) plays a backhand during the women's singles quarterfinal match against Venus Williams at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, on March 14, 2019.
Germany's Angelique Kerber (above) plays a backhand during the women's singles quarterfinal match against Venus Williams at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, on March 14, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

INDIAN WELLS (AFP) - World No. 8 Angelique Kerber denied Venus Williams a second straight Indian Wells semi-final appearance on Thursday (March 14), downing the seven-time Grand Slam champion 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

Germany's Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam winner, dominated the tiebreaker to grab a hard-fought first set that featured four breaks of serve.

She had to fight for the lone break of the second set as Williams saved four break points to hold for 2-2 and saved four more in the sixth game before Kerber finally converted one for a 4-2 lead that would stand up the rest of the way.

Kerber booked a semi-final showdown with red-hot Belinda Bencic, who stretched her WTA match winning streak to 12-0 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over fifth-ranked Karolina Pliskova.