After weeks and weeks of turbulence on the WTA tour, the women’s draw at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells might show signs that some form of order is being restored.
The top four seeds in the top half of the draw on Friday won their respective matches to set up blockbuster quarterfinals; No.1 seed Serena Williams will now take on fifth seed Simona Halep, while it will be No.3 v No.8 when Agnieszka Radwanska clashes with Petra Kvitova.
With Serena’s win over Kataryna Bondarenko, the top half QFs are set:
Serena vs. Halep
Radwanska vs. Kvitova.
Top half held up. #BNPPO16
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 16, 2016
Williams and Halep produced a marvellous battle at last year’s Miami Open, with Williams overcoming the Romanian 7-5 in the third set of their atmospheric semifinal.
That came after the pair had split matches at the previous year’s WTA Finals in Singapore, the birth of what has become an intriguing WTA rivalry pitting two players with extremely contrasting games against one another.
“It’ll be a really good match I think for both of us to kind of see where we want to be at this point in the year,” top seed Williams told reporters.
“I really like her game. I like how she’s aggressive. She’s a fighter. I definitely have to be ready.”
Serena Williams finishes off Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2, 6-2, setting up a popcorn QF with Simona Halep on Wednesday. #BNPPO16
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) March 16, 2016
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 16, 2016
The pair were also due to meet in the semifinal of this tournament a year ago but Williams was forced to withdraw ahead of the contest through a knee injury.
“I know that it’s gonna be tough to win, but still, I have my chance,” Halep said.
“I feel that I have the game to play against her. We will see tomorrow. She’s No.1 in the world.”
Radwanska v Kvitova is a rematch of last year’s season finale in Singapore, a match Radwanska claimed in three thrilling sets to claim the biggest title of her career.
In nine career meetings, Kvitova has won six times, and much like Serena v Simona, this match appeals due to its stylistic contrast.
Radwanska says her win in Singapore over Petra in the final was so emotional she actually can’t remember much of the actual match.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 15, 2016
#3 Agnieszka Radwanska knocks out last year's finalist Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-3. Faces Kvitova next as IW women's top half remains on track.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 15, 2016
The bottom half of the women’s draw, while not quite so star-studded, nonetheless features former world No.1 and two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka, impressive rising star Daria Kasatkina, and Karolina Pliskova, who as recently as last year’s US Open was ranked in the top 10.
After a string of tournaments at which seeded players could barely win a match, this year’s BNP Paribas Open has, thankfully, bucked the trend.
And what a women’s quarterfinal round we have in store in the Californian desert.
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