Serena, Halep reach Indian Wells semis

Indian Wells, CA ( - Two-time champion Serena Williams and French Open runner-up Simona Halep were quarterfinal winners Wednesday at the $5.3 million BNP Paribas Open.

The world No. 1 Williams fired seven aces past 27th-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in a 7-5, 6-3 victory. The American great Williams, playing here for the first time in 14 years, was the Indian Wells champ back in 1999 and 2001.

Bacsinszky was fresh off back-to-back titles in Acapulco and Monterrey in Mexico. She had a 15-match winning streak snapped.

The 33-year-old Williams will meet Halep in the semifinals. The third-seeded Halep overcame nifty 12th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in 1 hour, 53 minutes at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The Romanian star Halep broke Suarez Navarro eight times on Day 8.

Two other quarterfinals will be held here on Thursday, when 18th-seeded former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic takes on Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko and 15th-seeded reigning Indian Wells titlist Flavia Pennetta battles 24th-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki.

Pennetta upset Agnieszka Radwanska in last year's final. Jankovic titled here in 2010.