Williams sets up Radwanska semi-final

Serena Williams eased past Simona Halep to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.

The top seed crushed seven aces and 24 winners in her 6-4, 6-3 win over the Romanian on the hard courts at Indian Wells. 

It was Halep – the defending champion – who enjoyed the early break to go 2-1 up, but Williams broke back twice and was serving for the set at 5-3.

Again the fifth seed rallied to make it 5-4, but one final break from Williams sealed the set.

The pair swapped service games in the second set until a solitary break from the world number one put her in front and she went on to wrap up the match in 68 minutes.

The victory books Williams a place in the final four where she will face Agnieszka Radwanska, whose 6-2, 7-6(2) win over Petra Kvitova earlier in the day has likely secured her number two in the ranklings when they are released next week. 

In other results, Magdalena Rybarikova advanced to the next round after ninth seed Roberta Vinci was forced to retire with the scores at 6-2, 2-0. The Serb will face Victoria Azarenka in the quarters. 

Daria Kasatkina knocked out 12th seed Timea Bacsinszky 6-4, 6-2, booking her place in the quarter-finals where she will face 18th seed Karolina Pliskova.