Venus Williams reaches Indian Wells quarterfinals

Published by Matt Trollope

Venus Williams waves to the crowd after beating Anastasija Sevastova to reach the Indian Wells quarterfinals; Getty Images
Venus Williams advances at Indian Wells with a win over Anastasija Sevastova, joining Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals. Caroline Wozniacki, however, crashes out.

Venus Williams has progressed to the last eight in the Californian desert for the second straight year.

Yet unlike her scratchy play en route to last year’s quarterfinals, this year Williams has played mostly clean, focused tennis at Indian Wells – and is yet to drop a set.

Her latest triumph was a gutsy 7-6(6) 6-4 win over 21st seed Anastasija Sevastova, setting up a quarterfinal meeting against Carla Suarez Navarro, who beat local wildcard Danielle Collins.

It came less than 24 hours after her win over sister Serena in a blockbuster third-round clash under lights on Monday.

“It was not an easy match to figure out. She has everything in her game,” said Williams, who trailed 0-3 in the second set before winning six of the last seven games.

“It was a quick comeback from yesterday when you have the emotions of, hey, this feels like a final, ’til guess what, you’re only in the fourth round.

“It was only one break (down). And if you can hold serve and break (back) once it’s even almost … but outside of that I had the crowd behind me, and that felt good.”

Wozniacki out

For the second time in 2018, Daria Kasatkina got the better of Caroline Wozniacki.

Kasatkina beat the reigning Australian Open champion and world No.2 6-4 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals in Indian Wells, where Angelique Kerber – who thrashed Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-1 – awaits.

The 20th seed also beat Wozniacki in the Saint Petersburg quarterfinals in February.

Kasatkina looked set for a comfortable victory when she led by a set and a break, only for Wozniacki to break back twice and serve for the second set at 5-3.

Yet there was another momentum swing, with the Russian reeling off four straight games to complete victory over one of the game’s hottest players.

Prior to the loss Wozniacki had won 17 of 20 matches in 2018.

Quarterfinals set in top half

Earlier on Tuesday, fifth seed Karolina Pliskova and world No.1 Simona Halep took a step closer to a semifinal meeting after winning their respective fourth-round matches in straight sets.

> HALEP: ‘Serena still best in the world’ 

Pliskova ended the run of 16-year-old sensation Amanda Anisimova, beating the American 6-1 7-6(2) to move through to a showdown with Naomi Osaka.

Osaka survived a second-set hiccup to beat Maria Sakkari 6-1 5-7 6-1.

“I like this tournament so much and I’ve been playing pretty well every year here,” said Pliskova, who reached the Indian Wells semifinals in 2016 and 2017.

“It just makes me extra confident to come into this tournament, that I know I can win a few matches here every year. It’s just great that even this year, I’m back in the quarterfinals. I’m going to be ready for it and I want to enjoy.”

Halep handled China’s Wang Qiang 7-5 6-1 and in the quarterfinals will line up against Petra Martic, after the Croat defeated 18-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 7-6(4).

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