Serena Williams Relatively Easy Game so far at Indian Wells

With four rounds in the books at Indian Wells, not only is No. 1 seed Serena Williams still alive, but her path to the title has gotten considerably easier. While Williams (–1000) was able to fend off Sloane Stephens in three sets to advance to the quarterfinals, No. 2 Maria Sharapova (–650) fell to the defending champion, Flavia Pennetta. This definitely opens things up for Williams – not that she needs much help. Going into her match with Stephens, the World’s No. 1 was listed at 11/10 to win her first appearance at Indian Wells since 2001. Sharapova was the clear second favorite at 5/1, ahead of No. 3 seed Simona Halep at 7/1. Halep won her fourth-round match in straight sets over Karolina Pliskova to cash in at –220. Williams will be facing Timea Bacsinszky in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, with their match not due to begin until 10:00 PM ET at the earliest. Bacsinszky, from Switzerland, is the No. 26-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. She won the WTA event earlier this month in Monterrey, one week after claiming victory in Acapulco. But Williams won their only previous match back in 2010 in Rome.