Serena sets up Halep showdown at Indian Wells

Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:18am EDT
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(Reuters) - Serena Williams sent down seven aces on her way to a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, setting up a mouth-watering quarter-final against defending champion Simona Halep.

"It'll be a really good match I think for both of us to kind of see where we want to be at this point in the year," top seed Williams told reporters of the showdown against the Romanian in California.

"I really like her game. I like how she's aggressive. She's a fighter. I definitely have to be ready."

The American world number one, a 21-time grand slam champion, is looking for her first title at Indian Wells since 2001.

Halep moved a step closer to repeating last year's triumph after her opponent Barbora Strycova retired with the world number five leading 6-3 1-0.

The Romanian has only defeated Williams once in her career, a 6-0 6-2 thrashing in the group stages of the 2014 WTA Finals that the American avenged in an equally as one-sided final.

The pair were due to meet in the semi-final of this tournament a year ago but Williams was forced to withdraw ahead of the contest through a knee injury.

"I know that it's gonna be tough to win, but still, I have my chance," Halep said.

"I feel that I have the game to play against her. We will see tomorrow. She's number one in the world."   Continued...

Serena Williams (USA) during her 3rd round match against Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Williams won 7-6, 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports