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INDIAN WELLS – Venus, Halep and Pliskova march to the quarters

The big names are all stacking up at the WTA Indian Wells Masters with world No.1 Simona Halep joined in the quarter-finals by two former No.1s – Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams.

Halep overcame a sluggish start to beat Wang Qiang 7-5-6-1 in the fourth round to book a last eight berth against Petra Martic in the California desert.

Pliskova, using her powerful serve, overwhelmed 16-year-old Amanda Anisimova to advance to the last eight for the third year in a row.

Pliskova’s 6-1 7-6 (7-2) victory ended a remarkable run for the young American, a tournament wildcard who took out ninth-seeded Petra Kvitova in the third round for the biggest win of her young career.

She will play Japan’s Naomi Osaka after her 6-1 5-7 6-1 win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

In a later match, Williams defeated Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 in two tough sets to progress.

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

Venus Williams turned back time and reached the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals for the third time in her career. The No.8 seed has yet to drop a set as she backed her first victory over Serena since 2014 with a 7-6 6-4 win over No.21 Anastasija Sevastova, bidding for sixth Top 10 win of career, who posted her best result here this year.

Venus broke Sevastova winning the point of the match involving a drop shot after an exhausting battle from the baseline and a high backhand volley on the Latvian’s lob and served out the 763rd WTA main draw win. The oldest player in the draw, needing to reach the final to improve on her current ranking of No.8, can potentially return to the Top 5 if she wins the title and Karolina Pliskova does not reach the semifinal.

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