To hold on to her World No.1 ranking, Serena Williams needs to keep winning right now and to most likely win the tournament with Angelique Kerber hot on her heels, making the semi finals in the other half of the draw. Serena plays Simona Halep at this stage with the Romanian looking to match her semi final of last year but it will be a tough ask against the world’s best player. See their previous H2H matches here.
Serena has been in dominant form this fortnight, losing no more than three games in any of the 8 sets she has played so far this year. Most recently she was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Yaroslava Shvedova, facing 0 break points for the third time in four matches. Only Johanna Larsson has earned a break point so far and she failed to convert against the top seed.
The world’s best server putting up stats like this has to be frightening for the rest of the pack and Serena knows it sets her in good steed for the latter stages against tougher opponents. “Well, I feel like it definitely helps me to be able to know that I can hold. Yeah, I definitely feel like I can play returns easier.”
After almost exiting against Timea Babos, Halep had a much easier time in her next match against fourth round against Carla Suarez Navarro. She broke six times against the Spaniard for a 6-2 7-5 win but knows that her next opponent will be a much tougher proposition overall.
“She’s like the best player in the world. I don’t have to be afraid or to have emotions because I have nothing to lose.” Halep said when discussing the challenges both mental and physical when it comes to playing Serena. “Physically I feel strong enough to face her, but you never know. She has a lot of power when she hits, so I have just to recover my body, to be 100% next round, and to give everything I have.”
Halep famously handed last year’s finalist one of her heaviest losses at the 2014 WTA Finals in the group stage but that is the only success she has had against Serena. The head to head stands at 7-1 now with the one meeting this year being won by Serena in Miami.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets