WTA Indian Wells, Semi-Final Preview: Serena Williams v Simona Halep

Serena WilliamsThe 2015 BNP Paribas Open has had its fair share of upsets and surprises this year, but order has been restored somewhat with the first of the semi-finals, which will be played on Friday evening in the desert.  The number one seed, Serena Williams will play the number three seed, Simona Halep in what should be a fascinating match-up.  Halep booked her place in the last four with a 5-7 6-1 6-1 win over Carla Suarez Navarro.  It was Halep’s third three set win of the week with her match against Pliskova the only one that hasn’t gone the distance.  Against Suarez Navarro, Halep made a slow start going down a double break.  She recovered the two breaks, only to lose her serve again serving at *5-6 as Suarez Navarro stepped up the aggression on some well played points.

After losing the first game of the second set, Halep won the next eight games.  She finally found a groove on her backhand, particularly on the down-the-line shot and cut out the errors that had haunted her early on.  As the match moved into a third set, Suarez Navarro noticeably tried to put more on her shots, but to no avail.  She made a string of unforced errors and despite breaking Halep back at 2-0, she lost the last four games of the match as Halep grew in confidence towards the end.

Serena won her quarter-final match against Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets, 7-5 6-3.  It sounded like a good match and Timea continues to impress.  I was reading Timea’s press match conference after her win against Elina Svitolina and it’s fascinating to hear her story in so much detail.  I was going to do a post on it but time again has defeated me… click HERE to read the interview transcript in full.  Serena’s week began with an emotional first match back at Indian Wells against Monica Niculescu.  She has been a bit shaky at times, as her three set match with Sloane Stephens proved, but when she gets to this stage of a tournament, you know she is going to be pretty tough to beat.

Serena and Simona’s head-to-head is dominated by a pair of matches at the WTA Championships in Singapore at the end of 2014.  In their round robin match, Halep famously thrashed the world number one, 6-0 6-2.  However, the tables were turned in the final with Serena winning the WTA Championships with a 6-3 6-0 victory.  Both Serena and Simona didn’t play at their best in their respective losses so it would be great to see a match where both are playing at a high level at the same time.  I think the loss in Singapore for Serena struck a chord so the world number one will be up for this no matter how she is feeling physically or emotionally.  Halep has knuckled down since losing her quarter-final match against Ekaterina Makarova at the Australian Open and should bring a solid platform of confidence into this match.  Both players are on significant winning streaks; Serena is on 14 (in WTA matches), while Simona is up to 9 straight wins.  I’d back Serena to to maintain her the winning streak…

Prediction: S.Williams d. Halep in 2 tight sets

Note – This post has been amended to correct Serena’s winning streak.

Thanks for the all the comments this week.  Apologies, I haven’t had the chance to respond to many, but i’ve been reading them all.  It’s been nice to see a balance of support for players, particularly in the Halep-Pliskova preview.  I’m very intrigued to see which way the poll swings and hear people’s thoughts on this one.

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

35 thoughts on “WTA Indian Wells, Semi-Final Preview: Serena Williams v Simona Halep

  1. Serena’s winning steak is 14, I believe. Her last loss was to Halep in Singapore. I don’t see her playing anything but her best in this one. She knows Halep is feeling up to the challenge and that never sits well for Serena. Her serve has been vulnerable (for her, anyway) this week and that’s Simona’s only real chance to win.

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  2. I am rooting for Serena in this match. Radwanska is my favorite player, but the way she has been playing I will have to soon find a new favorite.

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    • Yepp, Aga is just about clinging in the top ten. If Karolina Pliskova and Timea Bacinszky carry on in the clay season the way they started then I think they’ll shoot inside the top ten as neither has real ranking points to defend.

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  3. It is very funny that all the Simona’s fans are hoping or praying Serena’s serve is not working or she is not well to play. Serena can win without her powerful serves. Simona’s victories over Lepchenko, Daria and CSN were not very decisive. She needs to play three sets to win. These opponents lost to her because one is inexperience, the other two are known to have weak mental strength. Serena will not allow her to come back like these opponents. Slower court means allow Serena to have more times to position her shots. If Sloan played Serena on a faster court, she could have win the match that day. Serena will take this one unless she has period…lol!

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    • Erm I’m a Serena fan through and through. I was just saying that Halep’s only chance is in attacking Serena’s serve if it isn’t up and firing. The more you frustrate Serena, the sloppier her footwork gets.

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    • You must have not watched that match. The score should of been 6-1 6-1 in that Sloane match. Serena had 64 unforced errors . The court was wide open and Serena was missing and she had 8 double fault . I will say this is the best I’ve seen Sloane play.

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    • You do talk a lot of nonsense, Sudut …

      “Slower court means allow Serena to have more times to position her shots.” – why doesn’t this also allow Simona more time to position herself & place her shots? I’m confused. 😀

      “Simona’s victories over Lepchenko, Daria and CSN were not very decisive.” – I guess you were looking away when she dished up five 6-1 sets in those matches.

      “These opponents lost to her because one is inexperience, the other two are known to have weak mental strength.” – Yes, let’s ignore that she’s beaten 2 in-form players in her last 2 matches … Pliskova (#4 in the Race To Singapore) & Suarez Navarro (#9 in the Race). These opponents didn’t lose to her for the reasons you stated. They lost to her because Simona was (and is) the better player.

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      • Same to you also talking nonsense here. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have not claimed that you are a nonsense. So we stay cool to voice individual opinion and show respect to each other for whatever reason. Please don’t sound like a loser like you do now. Life is short ..I know you lost your bet on Simona 2-0 CSN loll

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  4. The poll is flooded with Romanian or Simona fans. Good to know they support. I really want to see if Simona can retrieve the balls when Serena hits really hard with her top spin.

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  5. To all non Haleps supporters/ admirers/

    Speaking on behalf of many other Romanians, we are aware of Serena’s power with our without a SERVE. Her game is unique and she is a already very much present history (in the good sense of the word) not to mention her mental strengthness.

    Suditu, you are seeing too much when actually both players are looking forward to playing against each other. Who cares if Simona’s chances are practically inexistent according to all previous posts. We just want her to have fan and if she loses it will be against the N° 1 . No issue at all, for us, her fans ….

    Moreover if she loses, I still prefer to see it hypothetically, we will support her even more because she is so precious in so many ways.

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    • Exactly, your statement says it all. You do not have confidence that your Sinoma will win this match so you have hope is entire right (ACNA, go to Church will help). Who would not scare to play Serena? 19 Grand Slams and multiple premier tournament and Olympics gold medalist both doubles and single winner. Anyone will scare to play her unless they have no choice unless has to accept the defeat or WO. I wonder will it be a public holiday is Sinoma wins the semi. That would be nice!

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  6. Simona needs a strong start, no sleeping like she did against Carla in the first 4 games. Hopefully, she can play as well as (or better than) she did in the first 6 games of the 2nd set of the Round Robin match in Singapore. The belief she had then in the face of Serena’s pushback to save 6 break points … that will be needed again. If she does all this, it could be a tasty affair.

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  7. Acna …you can’t even type my Net Name correct –> Sudut. ACNA you don’t have to defend your SInoma since we all will enjoy your Sinoma playing her true tennis. And you should go to Church to pray for Serena is having a bad day lolll right ACNA.

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    • There’s nothing worse than a cocky Serena fan.

      Just promise us that IF Simona wins you’ll be back here to acknowledge that you got it all wrong & do it without making any lame excuses for Serena. 🙂

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      • I am not a Serena fan. 19 Grand Slam vs Simona 0 Grand Slam. I don’t think she can win more than 10 but a few may be. So, I think Serena’s fans are entitled to be proud or cocky. If you are a Simona fan, you have no choice but to swallow it.

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  8. Why are you taking it so personally .. was just a spelling mistake for which I apologize, Sudut. Do not be too passionate, waste your energy on something more constructive, really 🙂

    I do not need to hope or follow your suggestions. I just want to enjoy a nice tennis match between the acknowledged queen of tennis against a very persistent contender to the title.

    What’s more important to me is that she stays calm, focused and play her game and that’s it folks.

    Mispelling my name, on purpose says a lot to me.

    A nice evening, Sudut!

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    • Oh sorry..your net name is Anca. I type from my iphone. It is typo error like you type my net name incorrectly so many times. I get to the habit like you when you start making think about true tennis. Let’s go to church to pray together. Sorry It is morning here. I am going to watch Penetta/Sabine match later with my friends. Thanks to them I get free pass to access different matches.

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  9. We are all tennis fans. I have never named anyone here to claim that they are nonsense. Even I disagree with James or Andrew analysis, I only voice out my opinion because I respect them. I will say anything more than what you (Greg) and other Simona’s fans do to attack other fans who voice out their thoughts about Simona.

    So, please act professionally when you type something here. This is not a war zone. When you say Serena’s fans are cocky. What about Simona’s fans? Aren’t they cocky?

    Serena win or lose, I don’t really care. I only enjoy tennis and admire young talents like Karo, Keys, MUG…and whoever plays the best tennis to entertain me because I spend a lot each year to watch tennis live in the stadium. When you sound like going to war….I can feel you. You scare to lose so please don’t bet so much when your cash is not enough. For your information, I like a few players but I do bet against them because money is more important than them. This is rule of thumb. I hope you don’t have heart attack!

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    • LOL, no heart attacks here and no wars taking place. It’s only sport. I just like to read considered analysis based on what’s actually been happening, rather than the same old tired kind of things that get trotted out about Simona. That’s all. 🙂

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    • Sudut, stop trying to look objective when it comes to Simona.We all know your post with that child picture and running to Romania scared to play Vika comment….so we might as well ask you to act professionally! Best regards!

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  10. Yes, Sudut you mispelled it several times in the same comment and even used it capital letters:). Must say was funny after “scolding” me on mispelling yours. I mispelled your net name once. Let’s not waste our time on stupid details. I tend to type rather fast so mispelling was an accident. End of story. You go pray for Serena I am just going to prepare myself for a entertaining evening!

    Being cocky is not necesarily a bad thing 🙂

    No hard feeling, okay 🙂

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    • You started to mispelled my net name a few times first. Check the blog. I return you a favor to alert you how rude can you be to mispelled someone when you want to address something about a Net Person though not a real person.

      I back your pardon. I did not scold you at all but I was just try to let you know you are rude. Are you from Romanian? Perhaps we do not speak the same language or cultural difference to cause this debate here? I have a Romanian friend here in Indian Wells who is very polite and nice, and call my name correctly. Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Like it or not you don’t have to call up that person’s name to convince your Simona is the best. If she can win, good for her. If she loses not a big deal.

      I think only cocky people think other people are cocky because they can’t accept public opinion like yourself. I think I will leave your discussion in the future because it is very difficult to discuss with people who have low reasoning ability. I don’t deal with not so smart people because they can’t use their brain to communicate. Good luck and I hope your true tennis prevail. Win or lose Serena already won her 19 grand slams vs Simona 0 for now. If she is lucky hopefully she wins a few after Serena has retired or Sharapova is sicked.

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      • I can’t see Halep’s career outlasting Serena’s, if I’m honest. Her game requires so much from her body and most players with this sort of game run into heaps of injuries by their mid twenties. Just look at Henin, Clijsters and Azarenka.

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  11. The only thing I agree with you on is leaving this discussion aside. I am more interested in reading well argumented comments on this blog than engaging myself in debates with people that start talking about ” low reasoning ability”, not so smart ” . This is an insult to me the same way you saw it being an insult my mispelling. Maybe a cultual barrier/difference. It could be.

    I have already apologized for my mispelling but you keep on going back on this. I do respect people and if you judge a person based on a couple of posts which are not rude in my opinion… well then there is no much left to say.

    The same way you are entitled to your opinion I am entitled to mine.

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  12. Dear James, your prediction is nearly pleasing me, as more than 75% of your predictions were wrong during this tournament, either for score or no. of sets, in particular for Simona’s case. I hope you wrong this time, too 🙂

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  13. I think people here are missing a very important factor. She is returning to Indian wells after 15 years after being booed off in 2001. It has been a emotional come back for her & she wants to win this tournament. Sorry simona, but serena is gonna ace this.

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    • Agree,but this can either go very well for her ( in the meaning to be so concentrate for winning ) or very bad( not to handle nerves so easy and make a lot of UE). But for certain it will be a great match to see and the best to win!

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  14. Something bought Serena back to this tournament . This is her moment to make history and peace at the tournament . Halep is a great player and I’m sure she will win this tournament in the future .

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