A dominant Serena Williams proved far too strong for defending champion Simona Halep as the American eased into the Indian Wells semifinals in California on Wednesday with a 6-4 6-3 victory.
The world No.1 is yet to drop a set in four matches; Williams made a tricky opponent on paper look over-matched in the quarterfinal encounter.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion blasted 28 winners to Halep’s nine. She also recorded seven aces, aptly closing out the match with an unreturnable serve down the middle.
Williams broke the Romanian’s serve four times and improved her head-to-head record to 7-1 against her fifth-seeded opponent.
A right knee injury forced Williams to withdraw from the event last year, when she ended a self-imposed 14-year absence at the tournament, giving Halep a walkover in their scheduled semifinal.
Halep ultimately defeated Jelena Jankovic to capture the crown but her defeat to Williams kept the American on course for a first Indian Wells triumph since 2001.
Third seed Agnieska Radwanska stands in the way of a spot in the final and Williams expects a tough challenge from the Pole.
“(Radwanska) knows how to play in big stadiums and big matches, big games,” Williams told reporters.
“Obviously, she does everything so well, including running, and this is a good surface for her because it’s a slow surface. I think I expect there will be a lot of long rallies.”
Radwanska booked her semifinal berth when she fought back from 5-2 down in the second set for a 6-2 7-6(3) win over world No.9 Petra Kvitova.
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