In echoes of her last appearance at Indian Wells back in 2001, when on that occasion it was her sister Venus who had to withdraw at the semi-final stage, this time it was Serena Williams who pulled out of the event when due to face Simona Halep from Romania in the last-four. The top seed has cited a problem with her right knee as being serious enough to make the match a no-show for the American. It means that Halep will face Jelena Jankovic in the women's final at the Californian event.

Williams had been hoping to put all of the past behind her and roar back to Indian Wells with a victory and to reclaim the title she won in 2001, amid the boos and jeers that so upset her that time, and have led to her boycott of the tournament ever since.

Sadly for the legendary player, she was unable to take her place in the semi-final contest, allowing Halep a walk-over into the final itself. Williams had felt a "super sharp pain" in her knee at the end of a practice session and decided that she could not do herself justice as a result, when making her announcement at a press conference. She said that she had an injection in an attempt to make the last-four match, but that it was not destined to be her time to win the title.   

That should leave the number three seed fresh for the battle for the title itself against a former world number one seed from the past, in the shape of Jankovic, who seems to be playing a little more like her old self in recent weeks.

After losing the first set to the former Wimbledon finalist, the German Sabine Lisicki in their semi-final, the 2010 champion stormed back to take a 3-6 6-3 6-1 victory, as she looks to regain her position among the top twenty once more. Her former number one ranking dates back to 2008 in the aftermath of her charge to the US Open final, where she ultimately lost to Serena.

With Novak Djokovic in the men's final, it could well be a Serbian double, should both he and Jankovic triumph in their respective matches. Halep will probably be the marginal favourite though, given her current ranking and form, and the fact that she leads their head to heads 3-1, including the last three occasions on which they have faced each other on the WTA tour.