By Ros Satar, in Indian Wells
- The BNP Paribas Open WTA quarter-finals are set
- Simona Halep will hold on to the World No. 1 after Caroline Wozniacki lost to Daria Kasatkina
- Full WTA R16 Results and quarter-final line-ups
INDIAN WELLS, USA – The women’s quarter-finals are set at the BNP Paribas Open, with World No. 1 Simona Halep leading the charge.
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Simona Halep  v Petra Martic
World No. 1 Simona Halep was in the crowd to watch the historic third round match between Venus and Serena Williams and admitted that she feels she can learn a lot from them. She was in commanding form of her own though, as she came past Wang Qiang in straight sets.
She told reporters: It’s always nice to watch them. I love the way that they are motivated and they are still playing at this age, Serena with the kid. So it’s a great thing what they do for sport, and it’s great that tennis has them.
“It was really fun to come out here and watch the game. And also, you know, I have many things to learn from them. That’s why I’m trying just to go in to watch every time I can.
“I’m the world No. 1 in this moment, but I just watched the best player in the world. I felt to come because I admire a lot the sisters.”
Having injured her foot in Australia and withdrawn from her semi-final in Doha, she admitted it is taking time for her body to adjust to the matches once more, but that she is feeling the ball a lot better now.
She will face Petra Martic for a place in the semi-final.
Karolina Pliskova  v Naomi Osaka
Former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova has flown a little under the radar a little this tournament. She has been pretty consistent this year, reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Dubai (and of course at Indian Wells) and starting the year with a run to the Brisbane semi-final.
She was facing teen sensation Amanda Anisimova who made waves taking out Petra Kvitova in the third round, but Pliskova proved to be a Czech too far, in a year when the younger players starter to make their presence felt amongst the established old guard.
“Obviously she’s 16, so she’s not scared. You can see she’s hitting the ball without thinking. But everybody is playing like this when they are 16. I think this will change a little bit in the future, but for sure the game is good and not really any weakness. The serve is okay. I think everything pretty solid.
“She can for sure play well, but there are so many things which can change in future, so tough to say now.”
The Czech who is bidding for a spot in her third semi-final in a row felt she had picked up the pace match on match.
“My game, match from match, is improving here. So I feel much better than in the first and also second round or second match. So just happy it’s going a little bit more up.
“I think still I can serve a little bit better. I know I’m able to serve better, more aces. Maybe more first serves. No double faults, obviously. Overall just kind of happy with this way, how I played pretty solid.”
However, even though she is coming up against another one of the tour’s fast rising stars, Pliskova might be surprised to find out that Naomi Osaka certainly doesn’t see herself as part of the new wave. Into her first Indian Wells semi-final, the Japanese player said:
“I don’t really see it as age, because I feel old (smiling). I try to think about it, what are my skills and what is the other person’s skills? I really don’t think age matters right now, because there is a lot of good, top players that are — like, some people would say they are old, but I don’t think it’s like that.
“I feel like I have been on the tour forever (smiling). I feel like that even though it’s been only a few years. I have been, like, on the tour since I was 14. So, I mean, I feel like I know a lot of stuff. Yeah, I don’t feel like I’m new to this. And also, I don’t act like a young person, I don’t think.”
Venus Williams  v Carla Suarez Navarro 
After beating her sister, 17 years after they were supposed to clash in the Tennis Paradise, Williams was back in action once more, this time against Anastasija Sevastova. After fending off some spirited resistance from the Latvian, Williams put a spurt on at the end of the tie-break edging it for the lead.
Sevatsova looked as though she was going to mount her challenge in the second set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, before being steadily peged back by Williams, before she broke for a second time before closing out the match.
She will face Carla Suárez Navarro, who has also slipped under the radar this week. Despite a couple of early losses at the start of the season, the Spaniard picked up pace to the quarter-finals in Melbourne, before slipping back to a couple of quick exits in Doha and Dubai.
Suarez Navarro has got the better of Williams in three of their eight encounters, but the last three have been in Williams favour.
Angelique Kerber  v Daria Kasatkina 
For the second time this year, Caroline Wozniacki was unable to match the pace and variety of Daria Kasatkina. The young Russian has now ended the campaigns of the last two Slam winners – she beat Sloane Stephens in the previous round.
The 20-year-old already possesses a keen tactical mind and composure, cannily using angles and dealing well with pace coming at her. With Wozniacki claiming that the courts were playing slowly like clay courts, with the ball bouncing high, it was going to suit a player like Kasatlina, who happily agreed – and why not – she got the win!
“It’s bouncing really high, so that’s what I like, actually. Yeah, I cannot complain.
“I’m playing best matches against the best players. But as I say, if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top players. So quite simple rule.”
She will be looking to play her best tennis against Angelique Kerber who dismissed perhaps her earlier wobbles into commanding form as she coasted past Caroline Garcia in a little over an hour. Her serve was firing and she had locked in to the more aggressive style of play she has been working on, in stark contrast to the fussy grumbling Kerber that faced Ekaterina Makarova earlier in the tournament.
WTA R16 Results
- Simona Halep  def. Wang Qiang 7-5 6-1
- Petra Martic def. Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 7-6(4)
- Naomi Osaka def. Maria Sakkari 6-1 5-7 7-1
- Karolina Pliskova  def. Amanda Anisimova 6-1 7-6(2)
- Venus Williams  def. Anastasija Sevastova  7-6(6) 6-4
- Carla Suarez Navarro  def. Danielle Collins [WC] 6-2 6-4
- Daria Kasatkina  def. Caroline Wozniacki  6-4 7-5
- Angelique Kerber  def. Caroline Garcia  6-1 6-1
Simona Halep/Petra Martic and Karolina Pliskova/Naomi Osaka will play their quarter-finals on Wednesday.
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