(Indian Wells) Aryna Sabalenka, on a cloud since her crowning at the Australian Open, made short work of Coco Gauff, to reach the semi-finals in Indian Wells, also reached for the first time by Frances Tiafoe, equally intractable against Cameron Norrie.

Belarus, 2nd in the world, was in steamroller mode to crush 6-4, 6-0 the American (6th), an opponent who had nevertheless won three of their four previous confrontations.

More aggressive, more powerful, more consistent, she had no trouble getting rid of her 19-year-old opponent in just over an hour, often at fault in the exchanges, a sign of her impotence.

Sabalenka has lost just one of 17 games this season since winning Melbourne, losing just five sets along the way.

“Trust is a word that I don’t really like. I would rather say that I believe in myself more,” she commented hotly.

“I feel like I’m a different player this year,” she said at a press conference. I’m calmer on the court, able to control my emotions better, which helps me stay in the game no matter what and fight for every point, not losing my mind or giving easy points to the opponent. »

This placidity which did not necessarily characterize her before this year was verified the day before, when she had to work differently to dismiss the Czech Barbora Krejcikova (16th) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, in 1 / 8th final.

Although supporting Gauff, the public gave the 24-year-old Belarusian a standing ovation for her show of force. And the interested party to joke in return: “Oh, let’s go! I know you would have liked to send me home. But I don’t want to leave, the atmosphere is great here! “.

Sabalenka, who has reached the last four in the Californian desert for the first time, is obviously aiming better, but she will first have to dismiss the Greek Maria Sakkari (7th), finalist of the event last year, or the Czech Petra Kvitova (15th), opposed at night.

Among the men, the first qualified for the semi-finals is Frances Tiafoe (16th), authoritative winner 6-4, 6-4 of Cameron Norrie (12th) winner of the event in 2021 and who had just won in Rio De Janeiro.

The 25-year-old American, in search of a second title on the ATP circuit, after that gleaned in Delray Beach in 2018, reached for the first time this stage of a tournament in this category, just below the Grand Slams.

” I am very happy. I feel like when I’m mentally well, I’m one of the best players in the world. Today is not just about reaching the semis, I’m happy to beat a guy like him this way, who has been playing so well lately,” commented Tiafoe.

Dominant in the exchanges, he discouraged his opponent’s inclinations to the net with passes and constant pressure, while brilliant himself on the fly (12/15 successful).

His lone rider slowed slightly, when the 27-year-old Briton broke in the second set to come back to 5-4. But Tiafoe still had a serve ahead and he didn’t flinch to finish in 1:39.

“At the end it was a bit difficult, but it was one way and I’m really happy with my level of play. I’ve improved a lot and it shows,” said the one who had been up to in the United States Open semi-finals six months ago, only stopped by eventual winner Carlos Alcaraz.

The American, who had never passed the 3rd round in the Californian desert, is currently on a perfect course since he has not lost a single round in four games.

He will be opposed on Friday to the Russian Daniil Medvedev (6th) or the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich (28th).