Serena to meet Halep in semis at Indian Wells

Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:10am EDT
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INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Serena Williams took one step closer to a capping a remarkable return to Indian Wells after defeating Timea Bacsinszky 7-5 6-3 on Wednesday to move into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open.

Williams is playing in Indian Wells following a 14-year boycott of the event where she alleged she had suffered racist abuse from fans.

While Williams has said her appearance here has been a victory in itself, a third career tournament triumph would be special for the world number one.

"I'm just happy to still be here playing in front of you guys," Williams said during her on-court interview, after finishing with 23 winners and seven aces. "I'm just happy to be here."

Williams extended her winning streak to 15 matches and will next face Romania's world number three Simona Halep, who is the last player to have beaten her at the season-ending WTA Championships in Singapore last October.

Halep turned up the aggression and rallied for a 5-7 6-1 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro to claim the first women's semi-finals berth.

The Romanian overcame a blistering start by 12th seed Suarez Navarro at Indian Wells to move a step closer to what would be her biggest tournament title.

Suarez Navarro could do no wrong in the opening stages of the match, sweeping the first four games to go up 4-0. But Halep clawed back to 4-4, and then 5-5, before the Spaniard regrouped and unleashed a huge forehand winner to claim the first set.

From then on, Halep dominated.   Continued...

Mar 18, 2015; Indian Wells, CA, USA;   Serena Williams (USA) during her match against Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) in the BNP Paribas open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports