Venus Williams sealed her return to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time since 2001 with an impressive victory over world number 27 Carla Suarez Navarro, prevailing in straight sets with a straightforward 6-3, 6-2 scoreline after just an hour and 11-minutes of play.
It was a relatively dominant performance from the American as her first serves looked invincible, ousting the poor-performing Spaniard whose forehands looked AWOL throughout the majority of the encounter Thought to be a closer affair, it was Williams who booked a spot in her first semifinal of the year, where she will face the in-form Daria Kasatkina for a place in the final.
Williams overcomes a slow start to take the first set
An exchange of service holds started the match although it was Suarez Navarro who edged towards a breakthrough by earning triple break points in the third game. Errors from Williams on the backhand wing put her in some deep trouble but she served several bombs to fend off Suarez Navarro’s incoming onslaught.
It was the Spaniard who had to save a break point in the following game, with the world number 27 coming up with a clean forehand winner to level the scores. However, it soon became a one-sided affair as Williams rattled off 12 of the next 14 points and opened a commanding 5-2 lead to edge closer than ever towards the finishing line.
Errors flowed from everywhere in Suarez Navarro’s game, though she rebounded perfectly by prevailing in a tight game and kept herself in contention. Nonetheless, the American was just too good on her serve, serving out the first set 6-3 in comfortable fashion.
Williams rattles off the win in comfortable fashion
Riding on her momentum, everything was going in Williams’ way with her forehands working extremely well as it helped her to dictate play and move Suarez Navarro all around the court. This meant that a break in the opening game of the second set ensued, with the Spaniard finding herself in deep trouble.
Unexpectedly, Suarez Navarro found a new level in her game, and alongside her consistency, she frustrated Williams at the baseline and produced the best reply possible by breaking straight back. Errors on the crucial points proved to be Suarez Navarro’s downfall as she threw in an unfortunate double-fault on break point, handing Williams back the advantage.
Nonetheless, she looked to have gotten back level when she earned a formidable 0-40 lead on the return, but wild errors from the Spaniard allowed the world number eight to claim the confidence-boosting service hold.
The poor game from Suarez Navarro totally ruined her momentum as the underdog completely lost the plot, getting broken for the fourth time throughout the encounter as Williams earned the golden opportunity to serve out the encounter. Another smooth sailing service game for the American saw her claiming the win in just 78 minutes, and overcame a tricky head-to-head record to grab the comfortable victory.