Stan Wawrinka survived a gripping contest with Dominic Thiem on Thursday night at the BNP Paribas Open, beating the Austrian 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2) to reach the semifinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The third-seeded Swiss will face Pablo Carreno Busta, who earlier saved two match points to edge Pablo Cuevas. Wawrinka leads the No. 23-ranked Carreno Busta 2-0 in their head-to-head.
The 31-year-old Wawrinka notched the 450th win of his career as he battled past Thiem in two hours and 31 minutes. The Swiss is bidding to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week, to add to his 2014 Monte-Carlo trophy (d. Federer).
"The level was really high tonight," said Wawrinka. "I'm really happy the way I was playing, the way I found a way to win it. He's a strong player, really tough to play. I think in general we both played a really high level, and the match was only one, two points.
"I think in the third set tie-break I served really well. I was really focused to not give him anything. It's a great win for me."
In his fourth meeting with Thiem, the right-hander rallied from the loss of his serve in the opening game of the match to break Thiem in the second and 10th games to seal the first set. Thiem hit back, though, breaking Wawrinka in the third game of the second set to level the match.
Watch Wawrinka Hot Shot
Thiem looked to carry his momentum into the third set, but was denied two break points as Wawrinka held from 15/40 in the first game, before then breaking his 23-year-old opponent to take charge at 3-0 in the decider. Thiem responded, finding the lines as he reeled off the next three games, but the Austrian was left to rue missing a break point chance at 30/40 on Wawrinka’s serve in the ninth game.
Thiem saved match point at 30/40 in the 12th game as Wawrinka netted a forehand, but in the ensuing tie-break, the Swiss was tidier from the baseline and reaped the reward.
Watch Thiem Hot Shot
"I think in those moments you need to trust your game and that's what I did well," said Wawrinka. "I was playing well. I could have lost the match, for sure. But, in general, I tried to stay focused with my game, with my game plan, and don't give in anything.
"I know also that when I play good tennis I can beat anybody. So that gives me a lot of confidence."
Wawrinka had battled back from the brink in the third round, as Yoshihito Nishioka served for the match twice before the Lausanne native prevailed. He is through to the semifinals in Indian Wells for the first time, on his first tournament appearance in the United States since winning the US Open in September (d. Djokovic).