Although far from her very best at Indian Wells, Serena Williams is well on her way to erasing the painful memories of 2001 and her previous visit to the Californian Tennis tournament. She defeated Timea Bacsinszky in the quarter-finals in straight sets to advance to the semi-finals, where she will meet Simona Halep from Romania. Halep was victorious over Heather Watson's conqueror, Carla Suarez Navarro in a tough three-set tussle in her last-eight match.

Serena seems to be battling herself and her own emotions, as much as her opponents over the last week and a bit in California, no doubt still recalling some of the hurt she felt 14 years ago at the tournament, when the then hostile crowd made her feel far from welcome in the final.

Ranked number one she is expected to (belatedly) defend that title from 2001 and played well enough to overcome her Swiss opponent 7-5 6-3 to reach the last-four.

The world ranked number 26, Bacsinszky is the 'hot' player on the WTA Tour this year so far, making the final at the Shenzhen Open, plus taking the title at both the Abierto Mexicano Telcel and Monterrey Open events, and seems destined to rise further in the rankings. Her record in the Slams is not as impressive though and she only reached the third round at this year's Australian Open.

Bacsinszky broke Williams early on in the first set but was unable to sustain the break, as Serena came back to break the Swiss woman's serve twice and with it to ultimately take the set.

Both players struggled to hold their own serves in a topsy-turvy second set, with four straight breaks. Williams came through the stronger towards the end though in true champion fashion, taking four games out of the last five of the set to clinch the match.

Serena was disappointed with her form when asked about it afterwards, believing that she can play far better than she has been so far.

Should she manage to find her form, she looks likely to take the title.

Her next opponent, Halep, looks likely to give her an even sterner test though, despite having struggles of her own before defeating Suarez Navarro 5-7 6-1 6-1. The number 3 seed can draw on the confidence of defeating Serena in Singapore, towards the back end of last year. That reversal was the last one that Serena has had on the tour.