Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

WTA INDIAN WELLS - Venus, Halep and Pliskova march to the quarters

WTA INDIAN WELLS - Venus, Halep and Pliskova march to the quarters

World No. 1 Simona Halep and Venus Williams punched their tickets to the Indian Wells quarterfinals, while Caroline Wozniacki suffered another exit at the hands of Russia's rising star Daria Kasatkina.

However, Venus came out on top in Indian Wells for her 12th victory over Serena in 29 meetings, setting up a last-16 clash with Anastasija Sevastova by cruising to a 6-3 6-4 win over her sibling.

Following the win, Venus admitted that it was not at all an easy match and that Sevastova gave a tough fight to her.

But the takeaway is simple: Serena looked good enough to convince most that she will, eventually, return to championship-winning form.

Williams, 37, will oppose Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, the 27th seed, in the quarterfinals.

Next up for Halep is Petra Martic of Croatia, who beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 7-6 (4). "There were some points where she just played and it was too good".

"I haven't played in over a year; it's definitely not less disappointing", she said of the defeat.

The first set went into a tiebreak before Serena won it 7-4.

She used her protected ranking to play at Wimbledon in the same year. She asked Darren Cahill's advice and her coach suggested her to work longer points and reduce the error count. "I really already was resetting, because the tournament is far from over".

On Monday night, Venus Williams beat Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4, ending Serena Williams' first tournament back from a 14-month maternity leave.

Venus broke first and was up a break at 5-3 but Serena remained calm and saved two points before going on the force a tiebreak which she went on to win8-6.

This was their first encounter with Venus as an aunt and Serena as a new mother after giving birth to her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia, on September 1.

Against Vandeweghe, Sakkari was oozing confidence and appeared to be completely in her element.

Venus had won just 1 of the pair's last 9 matches, making this 3rd round match 2nd in 10th.

"I think I'm returning really well, I'm solid from the baseline and my serve is quite solid as well".

"I always know that it's never over until it's over", she said. With a day to rest mentally and physically, Williams is the clear favorite in the match, especially on the hard courts of Indian Wells.

Serena won only half of her service points overall - it is much, much higher when her serve and game are working, even against Venus - and committed 31 unforced errors to go along with 22 winners.

By reaching the quarterfinals, Kasatkina is projected to surpass her career-best ranking of 17th.

Halep improved to 17-1 this year and needs only to reach the final to stay at the top.

"She's 16, so she's not scared", Pliskova said of Anisimova.

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