Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska held on for a three-set victory over Jelena Jankovic on Wednesday to book a semi-final clash with Romanian starlet Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open. Radwanska, ranked third in the world, downed Serbia's seventh-seeded Jankovic 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in the California desert for the second time.
She'll get a chance to avenge her loss to Halep in the semi-finals last month at Doha, where the 22-year old Romanian overwhelmed the former Wimbledon finalist en route to the title. Halep breezed past Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-2 earlier Wednesday become the first woman to reach the semi-finals of the $12 million combined ATP and WTA tournament.
Halep, the sixth seed, needed precisely one hour to get past Dellacqua, saving all five break points she faced and breaking the 78th-ranked Aussie twice in each set. Halep has won seven WTA tour titles, six of them in her breakout 2013 campaign. But the world number seven is through to the semi-finals of one of the WTA's elite Premier Mandatory tournaments for the first time.
"I was moving really well today," said Halep, who had said she felt sluggish against rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard in her fourth round match on Tuesday.
"I had no pressure, and I was more relaxed than yesterday. I tried my best. My game is to be aggressive, to hit the balls, and I did really well today."
After her spectacular 2013 season, Halep confirmed her class with a sparkling run to the Qatar Open crown last month. Her success has made her a celebrity in her native Romania -- something the player who calls herself "a normal girl" is still getting used to.
"I was surprised when I wanted to park and I didn't have space. Someone came and put me in front of the hotel.
"You can park here, he told me. Everybody knows me now."
Indian Wells top seed Li Na of China, the reigning Australian Open champion and world number two, will take on Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova in a rematch of the Australian Open final in a quarter-final clash on Thursday.
The winner of that match will face either 17th-seeded American Sloane Stephens or Italian Flavia Pennetta, the 20th seed, in the semis.