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Halep, Swiatek storm to Indian Wells semis

Simona Halep has required less than an hour to breeze past Petra Martic and advance to the semi-finals of the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells while Iga Swiatek did likewise in dismantling Madison Keys.

Halep went up a break at 2-1 in the opening set after her opponent double-faulted, and the Romanian reeled off the next six games behind confident groundstrokes and precise serving.

The tournament’s 2015 champion was never really pushed, winning 55 points to Martic’s 21.

The unseeded Martic had notched impressive wins over 28th-seeded Ludmilla Samsonova and US Open champion Emma Raducanu en route to the quarter-final, but appeared to run out of gas under sunny skies in the California desert.

“I feel like I played my best tennis so far this year,” said Halep, who beat Martic in the 2018 quarter-final in three sets.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match against her. The one in 2018 was a longer match and was much more difficult.

“But today I felt great. I’ve been on a mission. I wanted to be focused on what I had to do.”

Next up for Halep is third-seed Swiatek, who completely dominated American Keys 6-1 6-0 in 56 minutes.

The pair have met three times previously with Halep winning twice.

“Tough match, because she’s playing the best tennis of her life,” Halep said.

“She’s in the best moment. I expect a really tough one.

“But I’m here in the semi-final, so I’ll take that. I’ll just try my best.”

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, had been pushed to three sets in her previous three matches in Indian Wells but looked in a hurry to secure a WTA Tour-leading 18th victory of the season.

“I was getting tired a little bit, so I wanted to make it quick,” said the 20-year-old Pole.

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