IW Friday: Semifinals On Tap
Published March 14, 2014 12:11
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Agnieszka Radwanska will seek to thwart the momentum of soon-to-be Top 5 player Simona Halep, while Li Na aims to stop the upset bid of fellow 32-year-old Flavia Pennetta in semifinal action at the BNP Paribas Open.
 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3) vs.  Simona Halep (ROU #7)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads 3-2
Agnieszka Radwanska leads her series with Simona Halep, but all three of her wins came before the incredible 10-month run Halep is in the midst of. Since last May, the Romanian has collected all seven of her WTA titles, second most on the WTA during that period. She has also amassed 57 match wins, most on the WTA during that period. And two of those wins have come against then-No.4 Radwanska, with those her best two wins in terms of ranking. By virtue of at least a semifinal showing here, her first at the Premier Mandatory level, she has assured herself of cracking the Top 5 on the new rankings. That will make her the first Romanian to ever achieve that ranking class. And if her 10-2 record in WTA semifinals and her seven wins in her last eight matches against Top 10 foes are any indication, she has a good chance to go at least a round further.
Radwanska has had a wide disparity of scorelines so far in Indian Wells, including a 60 60 win over Annika Beck in the third round and a thrilling three set victory over Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals, which was her 37th Top 10 win. That put her into the semifinals here for the second time, having also gotten this far in 2011. That also assured her of crossing the $15 million prize mark for her career, the 17th player to do so.
 Li Na (CHN #2) vs.  Flavia Pennetta (ITA #21)
Head-to-head: Li leads 3-2
Though she surrendered a set for the first time at this tournament against Dominika Cibulkova on Thursday, Li Na managed to improve to 17-1 on the season. That also put her into the semifinals here for the second time, having also gotten this far in 2007 - the best a Chinese player has done in Indian Wells.
Semifinal foe Flavia Pennetta, who is one day older than Li, has been extended to three sets in three of her four matches in Indian Wells, but has managed to improve to 13-3 on the season in becoming this tournament's first Italian semifinalist. A victory over Li would be Pennetta's 12th over a Top 5 opponent. Pennetta seems to be due for a win, in that her series with Li has featured alternating winners in every match, and Li won the last one in January's Australian Open quarterfinals. Interestingly enough, this will be just the second match in their series not played on Australian soil and the first since their maiden encounter way back in 2000.
Find the listings for Friday's play on the WTA TV developed by Xerox.