March 15, 2018 / 12:47 AM / a year ago

Tennis - Halep prevails at windy Indian Wells, meets Osaka in semis

Mar 14, 2018; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Simona Halep during her quarterfinal match against Petra Martic (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - World number one Simona Halep overcame strong winds and a determined Petra Martic to advance to the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals with a three-set victory on Wednesday.

The Romanian’s 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 triumph ensured she advanced to the semi-finals at Indian Wells for the third time.

Halep will next face 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, who stunned fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-3. Osaka, ranked No. 44, will be playing in her first semi-final this year.

Halep was exhausted by the conditions.

“It was too much,” said Halep of the 25mph gusts. “It was tough to play because the ball was really moving and we didn’t really know what’s going on on court. Here because of the altitude as well.

“In the last few years, I don’t remember such difficult wind and to feel that tough to play a game.”

After Halep claimed the first set, Martic built a 5-2 lead in the second, and while the world number one fought back to level at 5-5, the Croat emerged with the set in a tiebreaker.

Halep, however, raced away with the match in the third set.

“It was good that after 3-1 I just woke up, and I realized that I’m not doing the right thing on court,” Halep said. “And it was really good that I can see that and change that, so that makes a big (difference).”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Additional reporting by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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