(March 18, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Serena Williams had to rally in both sets before advancing to the Indian Wells final defeating No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-6(1) on Saturday night.
Radwanska was a point away from a 5-2 lead in the first set when Williams won seven straight games to take a 6-4, 3-0 lead.
Radwanska got back on serve and broke Williams to serve for the second set at 6-5. Williams broke back and sent the set to a tiebreak, which Williams dominated.
Williams hit 41 winners in the match to her opponent’s 18.
“I just made a few errors in the beginning and then just started to get a bit more pumped up toward the middle,” said the world No. 1.
“Well, in the first set she served pretty much every ball to my forehand. I started reading it, so she obviously changed her strategy, which is obviously — she’s a very smart player, so she knows that you just can’t go into the match and just do the exact same thing against anybody for the whole match.”
“I think it was pretty good match,” said the woman from Poland. “I started very well. Unfortunately I didn’t took chances I had in the first set, so many break points I couldn’t even count.”
“Think it was a really good match. I think we both played very well.
“In important moments she played really amazing shots. I think maybe I just didn’t really step enough in some of the important moments that I have a chance.
“Then she took it and it was too late. But I think that was really match in that kind of level that we have ranking.”
Williams returns to the BNP Paribas Open final for the first time since 2001. She returned to play the tournament last year after not playing it from 2002-2014. “Definitely didn’t think I would be in another final here ever,” Williams said. “Then last year just really, really bad luck. I felt devastated that I wasn’t in the final or at least even being able to play.
“After the last final I had here, I never pictured myself being back. So it’s interesting feeling.”
“Well, hopefully it will be very different than last final,” Williams said smiling. “But my goal is just to be out there, and I think it’s kind of cool that I can really close the door by being in the final again.
“So I think it’s something that really kind of came full circle.”
In the other women’s semifinal, Victoria Azarenka defeated Karolina Pliskova 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-2. Williams has a 17-3 record against the Belarusian.