Williams continues dominance, Halep seeks improvement

There were few surprises as the BNP Paribas Open moved towards the business end of the women’s singles draw.

Heavy hitters Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep all progressed, either in straight sets or via retirements.

Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta played out the match of the day as the Czech prevailed in three sets to move into the quarter-finals.

Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur also played out an entertaining three-set contest, with the Australian bowing out.



Williams needed just under 75 minutes to see off Kateryna Bondarenko in her 6-2 6-2 win.

The world number one sent down seven aces and broke her opponent five times on the way to the win.

The Ukrainian showed plenty of fight herself, forcing three break point opportunities but only converting the one, while saving 11 of the 17 break points??she faced herself.

Defending champion Halep was not even on the court for an hour but will not have been overly happy with her performance after her opponent Barbora Strycova retired losing 6-3 1-0.

It was less straightforward for eighth seed Petra Kvitova, who went down in the first set but recovered 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Third seed Radwanska made short work of 19th seed Jelena Jankovic as she prevailed 6-3 6-3, winning 70 per cent of points on her first serve in the process, compared to Jankovic’s 52 per cent.



Joining Jankovic among the exiting seeds was Roberta Vinci who was forced to retire with injury in the second set against Magdalena Rybarikova while 6-2 2-0 down.

Stosur exited at the hands of Azarenka, losing 6-1 4-6 6-1 while 12th seed Timea Bacsinszky exited after her 6-4 6-2 loss to Daria Kasatkina.

25th seed Johanna Konta lost 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 to 18th seed Pliskova in an entertaining match.



Williams will not be displeased with her 6-2 6-2 win over Bondarenko, but one wonders how much quicker she might have got off the court had she converted more than five of her 17 break points.

She certainly did not give much away on her serve, losing just 17 points on serve over the course of the match.

Meanwhile Halep will be concerned with the amount of mistakes she made in 45 minutes on the court as she stuck 16 unforced errors against her injured opponent.



Halep is already wary of what lies ahead with a quarter-final match against Williams and she expects a gruelling test as she looks to improve her 1-6 record against the world number one.

“I expect a tough one, of course,” she said.

“She’s very strong. I know her pretty well. We played each other many times.”



The quarter-finals begin in earnest on Wednesday, as Williams takes on defending champion Halep in the pick of the matches.

Elsewhere, eyes will be on Radwanska’s matchup against Kvitova earlier in the day.

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