SONY OPEN TENNIS
Williams Passes Li Test To Reach Semis, Faces Radwanska Next
World No. 1 Serena Williams defeated fifth seed Na Li 6-3, 7-6(5) to move into the semifinals of the Sony Open Tennis on Tuesday in Miami. Williams is two wins away from becoming the first woman to lift six trophies at Crandon Park.
“She's a good player. She always plays well, [fights and] never quits,” said Williams. “I think that we have a lot of that in [common]. So overall, it was a good match.”
Li held set point on the American’s serve at 5-2 in the second set, but Williams fought back to force a tie-break. Williams clinched the quarterfinal clash on her first match point to notch her seventh win in eight meetings with the former Roland Garros champion. The top seed claimed the straight-sets victory in one hour and 50 minutes and gleefully jumped in the air.
“I don't usually leap like that in the quarterfinals, but it was just a good shot and I kind of expected her to get it. She didn't,” Williams said. “I was glad because she played such a good tie-break and I think it was the only point I won on her serve. It was important for me to win that.”
Williams is looking to win her second title of the year after beginning her season by capturing the crown in Brisbane (d. Pavlyuchenkova). She improved to a 16-2 record in 2013, which includes a runner-up finish in Doha (l. to Azarenka) and a quarterfinal effort at the Australian Open (l. to Stephens). The Palm Beach Gardens resident leads all WTA active players with 47 tour-level titles.
For a place in the final, Williams will face fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska. The defending champion rallied to beat No. 30 seed Kirsten Flipkens 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Radwanska hit 29 winners to 20 unforced errors and converted six of her eight break points to complete the comeback win in just over two hours.
Serving at 4-6, 2-0, 15/0, Radwanska pulled off arguably the shot of the year with an incredible reaction and reflex volley. Explaining the shot, Radwanska said, “The main thing about the shot was it was a very quick reaction. One second it was supposed to be a forehand and the ball then changed direction. I couldn’t change to a backhand because it was too late, but I was going in the right direction, so I just turned around and I did it. It was lucky but it was the only way to take that ball. Those shots do not happen very often.”
The Pole is looking to become the 10th woman to successfully defend the Miami crown, with Williams being the latest to achieve the feat in 2008. Radwanska is winless in her four previous clashes with Williams.
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