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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, March 14, 2024

As Iga Swiatek was rampaging to the WTA Finals title last November, she was concerned about total collapse.  

World No. 1 Swiatek advanced to the Indian Wells semifinals today after former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki retired due to a foot injury with the top seed up 6-4, 1-0.

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During her post-match press conference, Swiatek was watching the TV monitor as bees swarmed the stadium during the Carlos Alcaraz vs. Alexander Zverev quarterfinal, stung chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani and forced the suspension of play.

That incident prompted media to question Swiatek on her strangest on-court experience.

The four-time Grand Slam champion said playing amid stormy Cancun last November, she felt it could all collapse.

"The strangest? I mean, the whole Cancun situation was pretty strange," Swiatek said. "I thought honestly the stadium was going to fall apart when I was in the middle of it. I'm happy that it didn't.

"There were some drunk people in Melbourne once when I played my first Australian Open, I think, pro, and in Miami, but that's not strange, I guess. I mean, it's entertainment. But yeah, they were shouting and it was visible that they were drunk.

"But that was fine. I mean, I'm fine with that."

Swirling winds that bent back umbrellas, sudden showers and soft spots on the court made Cancun quite a challenge last fall. 

The 22-year-old Swiatek faces 21-year-old Marta Kostyuk in tomorrow's semifinals.

It's been 12 years since a No. 1 seed, Victoria Azarenka in 2012, won the BNP Paribas Open. The top seed has won just two of the last 20 WTA 1000 championships.

Swiatek joins Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova as the fourth woman to reach three consecutive Indian Wells semifinals and aims to keep it rolling.

"Marta, she's a great player. It's not going to be easy," Swiatek said. "I don't feel like her game style is much different than the players you face on tour. It didn't feel like I need to practice more today to prepare for the match.

"I'm keeping my routines, and for sure I'm going to prepare tactically today in the evening."

Photo credit: Artur Widak-NurPhoto-Getty