In an unexpected turn of events, the final of the 2015 Indian Wells event will not feature Serena Williams, as she was forced to withdraw from the event, thus allowing Simona Halep to advance to the championship match against Jelena Jankovic. This marks the fifth time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Halep leading the head to head series 3-1.
It was a surprising twist when Serena walked out on court ahead of her semi-final match to announce her withdrawal from the tournament with a knee injury. Scheduled to play 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.
“She’s a tough player, tough opponent,” Halep said about Jankovic. “I’ve played many matches against her and every one was really difficult. I know I’ll have to run a lot, hit the balls strong and be aggressive. I will have to stay focused for every ball, too, because she’s going to be fighting until the end.”
In an unlikely comeback that was one of her best in recent memory, as 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.
“I just fought hard, stayed in the zone and took it one point at a time,” the former No.1 said. “Sabine has such a great serve. I had to be ready because anything can happen – she can come up with a really huge serve, then sometimes she takes off the pace, so I had to be ready for anything.”
This is set to be the fifth time that Halep and Jankovic cross paths on the WTA tour, with Halep leading the series 3-1. The Romanian lost their first meeting at the 2010 US Open and has since gone 3-0 against the Serb. Although it has been a tough week for Halep, she will likely conclude it with a new title on her mantle.
Prediction: Simona Halep in Three Sets
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