Serena battles past Radwanska to reach Indian Wells final

Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:40am EDT
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(Reuters) - Serena Williams overcame a sluggish start to forge past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 7-6(1) and move into the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.

The world number one, who will play Victoria Azarenka for the title, was 4-2 down in the opening set and not moving freely in the semi-final at Indian Wells.

However, after the American found her rhythm she claimed four straight games to take control of the set, then continued her run in the second to win the opening three games before her Polish opponent fought back.

Radwanska displayed the kind of tennis that will see her rise to number two in the world rankings on Monday, rallying to win the next three games to get the set back on serve.

The Pole even had a chance to win just her second career set against Williams when she broke the American to lead 6-5, but could not close out on serve.

Williams then snuffed out any hopes Radwanska had of claiming a first victory over the American, winning seven straight points to take the tiebreaker 7-1 and improve to 10-0 in their head-to-head battles.

"I think it was really good for me to have a match like that and I think that's the reason 'Aga' is doing so well, because she never gave up," Williams told reporters.

"I was up so much in the second and she just came back and was determined more than ever, so it was really good to play well against her tonight.

"I could have played three sets but I figured I should at least do 1,000 percent right now. That's what I tried to do."   Continued...

Mar 18, 2016; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Serena Williams (USA) shakes hands with Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) after their semi final match in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Williams won 6-4, 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports