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By Ros Satar – In Indian Wells

  • Serena Williams [1] v Simona Halep [5]
  • Agnieszka Radwanska [3] v Petra Kvitova [8]

INDIAN WELLS, USA – The last two years’ WTA Finals line-ups take to the court once more to bid for places in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals.

Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules

Agnieszka Radwanska [3] v Petra Kvitova [8] – H2H: Kvitova leads 6-3

Kvitova continues as three set queen, the coachless Czech continued to be the queen of the three set comebacks, having dropped the first set against qualifier Nicole Gibbs, playing herself to a new probably career high just outside the Top 70.

Kvitova has not always enjoyed the dry desert air, but having taken the brave stance last year of a break from the tour, after feeling burnt out, she was happy to be back and actually motoring along under her own steam.

She said, after her match: “You know, after losing the first set I was like, Okay, so today I want to play long. (Smiling.) But that’s how it is. The first set, I had a break but I still didn’t play what I wanted. I think in the beginning of the second set and until the end of the match I think I play really good game. I was serve and volley a bit better and playing some volleys and a little bit rallies when I needed.

“I think every one is very important for me right now. Definitely this big fight which I had during this tournament helped me a lot. I just really need the matches. So probably two-and-a-half hours it’s great practice for me, too. (Smiling.)”

Waiting for her will be third seed Radwanska as the pair resume their rivalry after the Pole beat her in the final of the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Right now with so many seeds having scattered in the uncommonly breezy desert ewinds this week, the way is clear for someone to really shine, and Radwanska has been consistently steady, not to mention the architect of yet another awesome trick shot this tournament

Pick: Radwanska in three.


Serena Williams [1] v Simona Halep [5] –

H2H: Williams leads 5-1

Williams and Halep get to have the match that never was. This time last year, after arriving back at Indian Wells amidst a media hoop-la, Williams apologetically told a crowd clutching their beers and settling in for a semi-final that it just was not going to be.

Were there boos? Yes one or to up in the gods. But fast forward a year, and the hype is all gone. Not even Venus Williams’ comeback this year garnered as much attention (possibly because she crashed out in her opener).

On Wednesday we get that match, and this should be a corker. Halep has put off surgery on her deviated septum (that’s nose, to you), and her troublesome Achilles tendon is all fixed leaving her to scamper about with reckless abandon.

Halep has looked very good this week. Neither have dropped sets this week either, but somehow Halep as defending champion has looked the sharper.

Williams, ever the perfectionist, has been troubled at times by players – pushed to a tie-break by the feisty Yulia Putintseva and admitted that she still maybe needed to get rid of a few untimely errors.

She said: “I think I just hit a few errors. I haven’t been making that many errors in the past, so just have to cut back on my errors and I’ll be fine. So far I think my consistency has been well; being aggressive has been well; everything that I’ve wanted to do I’ve kind of been doing. Just want to kind of keep that up.”

She knows that an in-form Halep is a dangerous proposition and there is a real feeling that this is the business end of the tournament, right here.

She continued: “Well, I really like her game. I like how she’s aggressive. She’s a fighter. She killed me at one point, so I definitely have to be ready, and it’ll be a really good match I think for both of us to kind of see where we want to be at at this point in the year.”

Halep passed into the quarter-finals thanks to an early retirement in the fourth round by Barbora Strycova but perhaps that will leave her just a little more rested ahead of her long-awaited showdown with Williams.

Halep said: “I think I have to do my game like I did every day since I came in the U.S.: aggressive, not very strong. I don’t hit very strong. I just take the ball fast. I move well. I hit with confidence. Also, the serve is going well. I feel that I have the game to play against her. We will see tomorrow. It’s tough. I repeat that, because it’s normal to be tough. She’s No. 1 in the world.”

Pick: Halep in three

Radwanska v Kvitova are scheduled on Stadium 1, not before 12:30pm (7:30pm) and Williams v Halep is scheduled on Stadium 1, not before 7pm (2am GMT, Thursday).


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