Woz­ni­acki falls

> … as Halep and Venus reach quar­ters in In­dian Wells

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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.

Halep breezed through her fourth round match with a 7-5, 6-1 win over China’s Wang Qiang and eighth seed Venus Wil­liams faced a stern test from Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova but held on for a 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 vic­tory.

The 20-year-old Kasatk­ina, who has beaten all four reign­ing Grand Slam cham­pi­ons in the past year, con­tin­ued her gi­ant-killing form with a 6-4, 7-5 shock vic­tory over world No. 2 Woz­ni­acki.

Kasatk­ina recorded her sec­ond straight win over Woz­ni­acki, hav­ing also beaten the Aus­tralian Open champ at the St. Peters­burg tour­na­ment last month.

“I’m play­ing my best matches against the best play­ers,” she said.

“But if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top play­ers. So quite a sim­ple rule.”

Kasatk­ina im­proved to 11-6 on the WTA Tour sea­son as she seeks to bet­ter her quar­ter­fi­nal ap­pear­ance here in 2016.

Kasatk­ina hit one ace, won 54 per­cent of her first serves and broke Woz­ni­acki’s serve six times in the one hour, 40 minute match.

“She out­smarted me to­day,” Woz­ni­acki said.

“But, you know, at least I tried, and I tried to do what I thought I needed to do out there to­day. I just couldn’t ex­e­cute as well as I wanted to.”

It was a dis­ap­point­ing exit for Woz­ni­acki, who fi­nally si­lenced her crit­ics ear­lier this year with her maiden Grand Slam ti­tle in Mel­bourne, where she de­feated Halep in the fi­nal. Woz­ni­acki had a chance to get the No. 1 back but she needed to win the In­dian Wells ti­tle to do it.

GI­ANT KILLER …

Kasatk­ina said she is start­ing to be­lieve in her­self, es­pe­cially when she faces top 10 play­ers.

“In the be­gin­ning it was re­ally tough be­cause I was re­ally ner­vous go­ing on the big stages against big play­ers,” she said.

“But now with ex­pe­ri­ence and with time I’m get­ting into it. I’m get­ting pretty con­fi­dent at this level.”

But she added, “I am still young so I have to work on ev­ery­thing.”

Kasatk­ina next plays 10th seed An­gelique Ker­ber, of Ger­many, who roared past seventh seeded Caro­line Gar­cia 6-1, 6-1.

Mean­while, Halep, who is one of two for­mer cham­pi­ons left in the draw, is now 17-1 on the sea­son hav­ing al­ready won a ti­tle in both sin­gles and dou­bles at Shen­zhen, China.

Halep ad­vances to the quar­ter­fi­nals where she will face un­seeded Pe­tra Mar­tic of Croa­tia who beat Czech Mar­keta Von­drousova 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Halep called for a time­out in the first set so her coach Darren Cahill could come down to the court to dis­cuss strat­egy.

“It was re­ally im­por­tant, be­cause he just told me what I have to do. I knew that I had to change some­thing, but I didn’t re­alise what it was ex­actly,” she said.

“So it was a good chat. I did ex­actly what he said af­ter that.”

Mean­while, Venus Wil­liams sur­vived a dif­fi­cult fourth round test to beat Latvia’s Sev­as­tova 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 just one day af­ter beat­ing sister Ser­ena in a third round con­test. It was the first time Venus has beaten Ser­ena since 2014 in Mon­treal.

She and Ser­ena usu­ally meet later in the draw in the semis or the cham­pi­onship match.

“It was not an easy match to fig­ure out,” Venus said.

“She has ev­ery­thing in her game. And it was a quick come­back from yes­ter­day, where you have the emo­tions of, ‘Hey, this feels like a fi­nal. But guess what, you’re only in the fourth round.’”

Wil­liams, who is the old­est fe­male player in the draw at 37, ral­lied in the sec­ond set against Sev­as­tova to book her spot in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Venus next faces Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain who rolled past Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-4. – AFP

AFPPIX

Rus­sia’s Daria Kasatk­ina re­turns a shot to Den­mark’s Caro­line Woz­ni­acki dur­ing their BNP Paribas Open at the In­dian Wells Ten­nis Gar­den yes­ter­day. –

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