Serena’s 700th victory sets up Halep semis
World number one Serena Williams overcame a dreadful second set to beat Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3 on Wednesday for her 700th career win and a berth in the Miami Open semifinal.
Williams will face Romania’s Simona Halep for a place in the final after the third-seed beat Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-5. The pair were due to meet in the semifinals at Indian Wells earlier this month but Williams pulled out with a knee injury and Halep went on to beat Jelena Jankovic in the final.
The duo are the two form players in women’s tennis at the moment, Williams is on a 19-match winning streak while Halep has a 24-2 record this season. Williams, who is seeking an eighth Miami title, made a sluggish start but went on to secure the first set in a tie-break and then broke her 27th-seeded opponent in the opening game of the second set before falling apart.
Lisicki’s precise and intelligent play took advantage of a series of unforced errors from Williams as the German won six consecutive games to force a decisive set. But Williams, the two-times defending Miami champion, quickly rediscovered her form and broke to get a 3-0 lead and held firm for the win.
Williams is the eighth player in WTA history to record 700 match wins, putting her in an exclusive club that is led by Martina Navratilova (1,442). “I didn’t know I had 700 wins. I just want to keep doing, doing the best that I can. Just staying positive and winning as much as I can,” said Williams.
Halep utterly dominated the first set but Stephens recovered well in the second to open up a 5-4 lead only to see the Romanian power back to win the last three games, to the delight of a large Romanian contingent in the Key Biscayne crowd.