Following an entertaining fortnight in Miami, the final of the tournament is official: world No. 1 and seven time champion Serna Williams will encounter resurgent Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro to determine who will lift the trophy on Saturday. Williams is undefeated in their four previous encounters in the head-to-head series, including a clay court win last season in Madrid.
At first, Williams’ match against Halep looked as though it would be a straightforward encounter, as the American rushed through the first set to an early lead. However, the Romanian rebounded in the second set when Williams’ unforced error count rose significantly. Yet in the end, the top seed found the crucial break near the end of the match and closed out the encounter 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
“I actually had a fun match,” Williams said. “I just feel it was on my racquet. I had chances in the second set but didn’t take them. That’s something I can’t do going into the Grand Slams coming up.”
“I really like her attitude on the court. I like how she gets pumped up. I like how she fights. I like how she plays. I just think it’s fun to watch and it’s different – it’s definitely a refreshing type of game.”
In an incredible story, an inspired Suarez Navarro reached a remarkable career accomplishment when she found her way into her first WTA Premier Mandatory (or higher) final with a victory over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. She crusied to victory in straight sets with much help from Petkovic’s unforced error count (32). She won the match 6-3, 6-3 to set up an enticing final against the American.
“I feel so happy. It’s so important for me,” the Spaniard said of the breakthrough. “I was practicing and working all year with my team for a moment like this.”
This marks the fifth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Williams leading the series with an impenetrable 4-0 record. While the Spaniard is playing some of the best tennis of her career, it is still difficult to envision her actually toppling the world No. 1 player on Saturday.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Three Sets