Indian Wells: Venus Williams, Halep suffer shock semi-final losses

A determined Daria Kasatkina won a marathon 4-6 6-4 7-5 battle against Venus Williams at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday to advance to her first final at Indian Wells.

Seven-time Grand Slam victor Venus Williams reached the WTA Indian Wells semi-finals for the first time since 2001 on Thursday by routing Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-2.

Down 5-4 in the third set of the semifinals at Indian Wells and facing love-30, 20-year-old Daria Kasatkina was two points from seeing her incredible, improbable run in the BNP Paribas Open come to an end.

"But she's playing really well". You're in a night session, you're playing against a legend and you are in the third set. She also has a better record having gone 167-75 in singles so far compared with Osaka's 149-104.

"I didn't feel nervous", Kasatkina said of the moment before her next serve. I don't know why. The players duelled through eight deuces in an epic eighth game, with the Russian turning back six break points against her. Venus Williams pulled a forehand wide to lose the game.

The hard-hitting 20-year-old showed supreme confidence, wrapping up the match in 64 minutes and avenging her loss to Halep in the fourth round at January's Australian Open.

Sunday will be the first meeting between Kasatkina and Osaka, with the former gunning for a second career title from four finals reached and the latter seeking a maiden WTA trophy. But will it be the impressive retrieving skills of Kasatkina or the power of Osaka that triumphs?

With the win, Kasatkina, who won her first title at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston past year, made it to her first-ever Indian Wells final.

Indian Wells: Venus Williams breezes past Carla Suarez Navarro to set up semi-final against Daria Kasatkina

The Japanese player's best result to date was to make the final of a WTA tour event in Tokyo in September 2016.

The 32nd seed overcame 18th seeded home player Sam Querrey 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

The match started as a cagey affair until it reached 3-3 in the opening set, when Halep's game unravelled as she coughed up a litany of errors, paving the way for Osaka to reel off the next nine games. She will try and change the rhythm with slices, lifts and lobs and she moves well around the court.

The two winners, who are both aged 20, will now meet in the final tomorrow at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Williams breathed heavily during changeovers and was the last to leave her chair, while Kasatkina got up just as the umpire called time and jogged to the baseline.

The turning point came in the third set as Williams was left breathing heavily on her chair after holding serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead.

"[After a] match like this, you're just speechless", she said.

"I feel like there is a new generation and we are trying to push through", said the Japanese.

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