Indian Wells - Serena Williams dethroned
defending champion Simona Halep in straight sets on Wednesday to set up an
Indian Wells semi-final showdown between the world No 1 and 2.
Williams reached just her second semi in 15
years by beating Halep 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.
"She's a dangerous player,"
Williams said of Halep. "She knows what it takes to beat the best player
so I knew I had to play as best as I could."
Williams advances to face Agnieszka
Radwanska, who has never beaten Williams in nine career matches.
Fifth seeded Halep was the one who helped
spoil Williams' much-anticipated return to the WTA and ATP Tour tournament last
year, winning their semi-final in a walkover after Williams pulled out right
before the match with a knee injury. Halep went on to beat Jelena Jankovic in
It was all Williams on Wednesday as the
21-time Grand Slam winner played as if she had something to prove, blasting six
aces and winning 80 percent of her first-serve points.
"Feels good to get that win,"
Williams said. "I had to buckle down."
Last year's semi-final withdrawal by
Williams cut short her first Indian Wells campaign since 2001, when spectators
booed her during the final and jeered her sister, Venus, and father Richard
Williams after the pair arrived to watch the match. Richard Williams alleges he
heard racial comments.
That scene sparked a lengthy boycott by
both Williams sisters as Venus made her long-awaited return this year, but lost
in her opening match to Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara.
Radwanska defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6
(7/3) in their quarter-final, but the victory had an added bonus as she vaulted
past Angelique Kerber into the world number two spot.
It was just the fourth time Radwanska has
beaten Kvitova in 10 career meetings.
Kvitova dug deep in during the second set,
breaking Radwanska twice for a 4-2 lead. Radwanska came racing back, drawing
from her arsenal of shots to force a tiebreaker.
Radwanska got off to 4-0 lead in the
tiebreaker then held on to clinch it when Kvitova dumped a backhand into the
"I was pretty calm," Radwanska
said of her second-set comeback. "Obviously that's just one break, so you
just keep going. And I was a little big lucky, in the end."