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Venus advances to quarters at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — 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.

“It was not an easy match to figure out,” Williams said. “She has everything in her game. I had the crowd behind me and that felt good.”

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.

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 improved to 17-1 this year and needs only to reach the final to stay at the top. If not, Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Halep in the Australian Open final, could replace her if the Dane wins the title. Halep and Wozniacki are the only former Indian Wells winners left in the women’s draw.

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 WTA 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.

Halep attended 37-year-old Venus Williams’ straight-set victory over 36-year-old sister and new mother Serena on Monday night.

“I love the way that they are motivated and they are still playing at this age, Serena with the kid,” Halep said. “It’s a great thing what they do for sport, and it’s great that tennis has them. I have many things to learn from them. That’s why I’m trying just to go in to watch every time I can.”

On the men’s side, Gael Monfils retired in the second set with a back injury trailing fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hughes Herbert 6-2, 3-1.

Monfils used an eight-minute injury timeout in the second set to get his back worked on before returning to the court and getting broken in fourth game. He then walked to the net and ended the match.

Herbert moved on to a fourth-round matchup with Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who upset No. 2 seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4.

Cilic won 19 of 23 points on his first serve, but failed to convert four break points against 31st-seeded Kohlschreiber, who snapped a 12-match skid against top-10 opponents.

Herbert remains in contention for the $1 million bonus offered to a player who sweeps the singles and doubles titles.

No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated No. 29 David Ferrer of Spain 6-4, 7-6 (3) for the fifth straight time.

With Cilic, Ferrer, Novak Djokovic, Monfils and John Isner all eliminated from his quarter of the draw, things are looking wide open for del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. Top-ranked Roger Federer and del Potro are the highest seeds remaining.

“I’m not thinking about that. I just want to keep winning,” del Potro said. “Still far away from the final, but of course, any chance to play with Roger would be great.”

Del Potro’s countryman, Leonardo Mayer, beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-1. Mayer next plays del Potro.

No. 18 Sam Querrey rallied past Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4.

No. 32 Milos Raonic of Canada defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 and will meet Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, who beat lucky loser Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (7), 6-4.


Kasatkina upsets Venus Williams to reach Indian Wells final

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Daria Kasatkina upset Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a nearly three-hour baseline struggle to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday night.

Kasatkina was two points from defeat, trailing 4-5 and 0-30 in the third set when Williams committed four straight errors as the 20-year-old Russian tied it 5-all.

Williams won just two more points as Kasatkina took the last two games to close out the match in 2 hours, 48 minutes. Kasatkina dropped her racket near the baseline and covered her face with her hands as she walked to the net.

After shaking hands, Kasatkina pumped her fists and shook her head slightly as if in disbelief at beating the 37-year-old American and advancing to the biggest final of her young career.

Top-ranked Simona Halep took on Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old from Japan, in the other semifinal.

After losing the first set, Kasatkina was visited by her coach on court. Philippe Dehaes told her, “She’s 37, you’re 20. Make her work a lot.”

When she wasn’t trading shots from the baseline, a nervy Kasatkina fooled Williams with drop shots, including two that landed just over the net near the sideline. The Russian tossed up lobs over the 6-foot-1 American – some worked, some didn’t, but she was undeterred.

There were 14 service breaks in the match.

Williams rallied from 3-1 down to win the first set. She trailed 3-1 again in the second and tied it 3-all when Kasatkina was broken on a double fault.

Kasatkina won the last four games in a row to take the second set. The players dueled through eight deuces in an epic eighth game, with the Russian turning back six break points against her. Williams pulled a forehand wide to lose the game.

Kasatkina’s coach visited her again before the third set.

“You go for it?” he asked her.

“Sure,” she replied, and they slapped hands.

Williams served a love game to go up 5-4. She led love-30 on Kasatkina’s serve in the next game before her forehand deserted her.

Williams double-faulted twice in a row to drop serve and trail 6-5. Kasatkina won on her second match point when Williams netted a backhand.

Kasatkina now owns a 2-1 record against Williams, who won 10-8 in the third round at Wimbledon in 2016.

Juan Martin del Potro defeated No. 31 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Milos Raonic beat 18th-seeded American Sam Querrey 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the men’s semifinals.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Maria Sharapova withdraws from Miami with forearm injury

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Miami Open that begins next week because of a left forearm injury.

Sharapova announced the decision on Friday. She’ll be replaced in the main draw by American Jennifer Brady.

Sharapova lost in the first round at Indian Wells last week and in the third round of the Australian Open in January. She returned to the tour last year after a 15-month doping ban.

The women’s field includes eight-time Key Biscayne champion Serena Williams and No. 1-ranked Simona Halep. The men’s field includes defending champion Roger Federer and six-time Key Biscayne champ Novak Djokovic.