Serena earns 700th win to reach Miami semis

Mur­ray ral­lies to set semi­fi­nal show­down

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY STEVEN WINE

Serena Wil­liams abused her racket, scolded her­self and even made an­gry faces at the sun. In the end, as usual, she took out her frus­tra­tion on the ball. The seven-time Key Bis­cayne cham­pion over­came her an­noy­ance and shaky play Wed­nes­day for her 700th ca­reer victory, beat­ing Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-3 to reach the semi­fi­nals of the Miami Open.

Wil­liams won de­spite an un­re­li­able serve, a poor sec­ond set and 51 un­forced er­rors. She looked flat­footed and list­less at times, and seemed es­pe­cially vexed when play­ing on the side look­ing into the sun.

“It’s al­ways tough on that side,”

World No. 4 Andy Mur­ray booked his semi­fi­nal berth at the Miami Masters on Wed­nes­day, ral­ly­ing for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Aus­trian Do­minic Thiem.

The third- seeded f ormer cham­pion will face eighth seed To­mas Berdych af­ter the Czech dis­patched Juan Monaco 6- 3, 6-4 to ex­tend his per­fect record against the Ar­gen­tine to 7-0. she said. “You just don’t see. You just have to ad­just.”

She did, earn­ing her 16th con­sec­u­tive victory on Key Bis­cayne, where she’s the two-time de­fend­ing cham­pion.

“I know to­day wasn’t my best day,” she said. “I just told my­self, I’m not serv­ing the way I nor­mally serve and hit­ting the way I nor­mally would hit, so at this point all I can do is just fight and try to give 200 per­cent in­stead of 100 per­cent.”

The No. 1-seeded Wil­liams’ op­po­nent Thurs­day night will be No. 3 Si­mona Halep, who beat un­seeded

Mur­ray, who won ti­tle at Cran­don Park in 2009 and 2013, was ini­tially stunned by the clean and pow­er­ful one-handed back­hand of the 21- year- old Thiem, who has looked strong in Miami af­ter com­ing into the tour­na­ment with a 3-5 record in 2015.

“I ex­pected a tough match, he’s beaten some very good play­ers this week,” said Mur­ray, Amer­i­can Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-5. No. 9 An­drea Petkovic plays No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro in the other semi­fi­nal.

Wil­liams im­proved her ca­reer record to 700-120, mak­ing her the eighth woman in the Open Era to reach the mile­stone. She was pre­sented with a cake on the court, sim­i­lar to the honor Mur­ray re­ceived fol­low­ing his 500th victory Tues­day.

“I think my des­tiny was to play ten­nis,” Wil­liams said. “I saw a pic­ture where I was in a stroller on the ten­nis court.”

The No. 1-seeded Wil­liams with- who needed one hour and 44 min­utes to seal the win. “He’s a very big hit­ter of the ball, a very strong guy and he moves ex­tremely well.

“When you let him dic­tate the points, he hits the ball as hard off each side as any­one. He made me do a lot of run­ning.”

Thiem, ranked 52nd in the world, now stands 1-7 against top-10 op­po­nents. drew be­fore the In­dian Wells semi­fi­nal ear­lier this month with a right knee in­jury. She had been sched­uled to play Halep, who went on to win the ti­tle and leads the women’s tour with 24 vic­to­ries this year.

“I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed to not be able to play and just not even be close to 100 per­cent,” Wil­liams said. “So I look for­ward to it this time. I’m just happy to be in the semis and still be alive some­how.”

“It will be a very nice match,” Halep said. “I have to try ev­ery­thing. She is No. 1 in the world. She’s the best player. I have noth­ing to lose.”

AP

Serena Wil­liams is ex­u­ber­ant af­ter win­ning a point against Sabine Lisicki, of Ger­many, dur­ing their match at the Miami Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Key Bis­cayne, Florida on Wed­nes­day, April 1.

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