Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic was late for a news conference to discuss her 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal victory over Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open. But her tardiness was understandable: Pliskova was preparing for a doubles semifinal match, in which she teamed with Julia Goerges of Germany to defeat Sara Errani of Italy and Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia, 6-4, 6-3.
That made it a win-win day at Indian Wells for No. 18 Pliskova, who had 30 winners, 10 unforced errors and nine aces against Kasatkina. Pliskova's semifinal opponent will be No. 13 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who overpowered an injured Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-0, 6-0, Thursday.
"I was really happy with the way I played the singles. I think it was one of the best matches I played here so far," said Pliskova, who is ranked 19th in the world. "So it even was quick, so I just had an hour between singles and doubles. I just wanted to get ready for the doubles.
"Just happy also for the doubles, because it's one of the biggest tournaments in the world, so every result here is important. It's my first biggest final in the doubles, and especially happy to be there with my partner Julia."
They will face Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe, who defeated Timea Babos of Hungary and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, 2-6, 6-4, 10-4.
Kasatkina, at 18 the youngest player in the main draw, acquitted herself well in her Indian Wells debut. "Every match give me experience here," said Kasatkina, who ended 2015 ranked 72nd and has moved up to 48th. "I feel like I'm improving every match, every practice, so it will help me in the next tournament."
Rybarikova needed medical attention between sets of her match against Azarenka and got tape applied to her leg. It was the second double-bagel of the year for Azarenka, who is 11-1. "It doesn't feel great knowing that your opponent struggled, because I have been on the opposite side of the net like this. But, you know, you're out there to win so you can't really feel bad about it," said Azarenka, who has two Grand Slam titles, both at the Australian Open.
Azarenka and Pliskova are 1-1 in career head-to-head matchups. Pliskova won the last one, last year in Brisbane, Australia, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4. "It's a good challenge. She's a great player with so much talent and potential, and you could see in one year how much she improved already," Azarenka said. "Big serve, big hitter. So it's going to be a lot of, I would say, short rallies. But we'll see."