The semi-final round of the Indian Wells event brought with it some surprising twists and turns, which eventually led to a Sunday final that few anticipated.
Serena Williams walked out on court ahead of her semi-final match to announce her withdrawal from the tournament with a knee injury. Scheduled to play Simona Halep, she opted to err on the side of caution and not take part in the match. Halep was disappointed not to play the No. 1 but is excited about the new challenge of facing Jankovic once again.
“I was on the practice court and everything was going well, but literally the last two minutes I went for a serve and felt a super sharp pain in my knee,” Williams explained to reporters in her press conference. “It was like, ‘Okay,’ and I served again. I felt it again. I just came off, and it hasn’t been the same since. I have done everything. I have just pretty much done everything from taping to research.
“I even did an injection. I’ve never done an injection before. If this were any other event I probably wouldn’t have considered it. But I wanted to give 200%. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”
In the earlier semi-final, Jelena Jankovic rallied from a set down and twice overcame a break in the second set to defeat Sabine Lisicki in three sets and reach her first final in over a year.
Halep and Jankovic will meet in the final of the tournament on Sunday.