Venus hangs tough

In Photo: Venus Williams

INDIAN WELLS, California—Venus Williams defeated Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, 7-6 (8), 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday as the oldest woman in the draw.

The 37-year-old American was coming off a straight-set victory over younger sister Serena a night earlier, ending a three-match skid against her sibling.

“It was a quick turnaround from last night when it feels like, ‘Hey, this is a final to you’re only in the fourth round,’” Williams said on court.

Playing under cloudy skies in 80-degree heat, Williams had her hands full with Sevastova, who used drop shots, top spin, lobs and jerked her 10-years-older opponent side to side.

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“There were some points where she just played and it was too good,” Williams said. “I thought I was in control of the point and winning the point, and she turned it around. It’s just real talent.”

After early losses in her first two tournaments of the year, Williams hasn’t dropped a set at Indian Wells, where she has yet to reach the final in six previous appearances.

Awaiting Williams in the quarterfinals is 27th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who beat American wild card Danielle Collins, 6-2, 6-4.

Simona Halep is on track to retain her No. 1 world ranking after defeating Wang Qiang of China, 7-5, 6-1, in the fourth round.

Halep is the only former Indian Wells winner left in the women’s draw after No. 20 Daria Kasatkina upset No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 7-5. Wozniacki blew a 3-0 lead in the first set and was on the run most of the match before losing for the second time this year to the 20-year-old Russian.

“She outsmarted me,” Wozniacki said.

By reaching the quarterfinals, Kasatkina is projected to surpass her career-best ranking of 17th. She has beaten all four current Grand Slam titleholders in the past year, including US Open winner Sloane Stephens in straight sets this week.

“I’m playing best matches against the best players,” Kasatkina said. “But as I say, if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top players. So quite simple rule.”

Halep improved to 17-1 this year and needs only to reach the final to stay at the top.

Next up for Halep is Petra Martic of Croatia, who beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

American teenager Amanda Anisimova’s run of success ended in a 6-1, 7-6 (2) loss to No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

Anisimova, a 16-year-old wild card, won her first three Women’s Tennis Association Tour matches at Indian Wells, beating Pauline Parmentier, No. 23 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova without dropping a set.

“She’s 16, so she’s not scared,” Pliskova said of Anisimova. “You can see she’s hitting the ball without thinking. But everybody is playing like this when they are 16. I think this will change a little bit in the future, but for sure the game is good and not really any weakness. I think everything is pretty solid.”

Pliskova faces a quarterfinal against Naomi Osaka, who beat Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-1, 5-7, 6-1.

 

 

Image Credits: AP

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