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Nadal Faces Berdych in Semi-Final; Serena Tops Sharapova; Li Beats Cibulkova Anew

March 27, 2014 ITS Staff Miami, Florida - World No.1 Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova in straight sets on Thursday 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Sony Open finals. The victory improves Serena’s career head-to-head match record against Sharapova to 16-2.

 

Williams, who is now just one victory away from claiming her seventh Miami crown, dominated the Russian with punishing ground strokes and solid serves including hitting five aces in the one hour and 37 minute match.

 

In Saturday's final, Serena will face off with Australian Open champion Li Na, who, despite committing 40 unforced errors, rallied past Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. Cibulkova, who lost to Li in the Melbourne final and again two weeks ago in Indian Wells semi-finals, led 3-1 in the final set before Li reeled off five straight games to secure a spot in the final after a grueling two-hour and 16 minute match. Williams leads Li 10-1 in head-to-head match.

 

In men's singles quarter-finals, No.7 seed Tomas Berdych is through to the semi-finals after beating No.22 Alexandr Dolgopolov in two tight sets 6-4 7-6(3). Both players traded breaks early in the first set with Berdych coming on top and hanging on until the second set tie-breaker where the Czech dominated wining 7-3. Berdych served eleven aces while the fast-rising Ukrainian star tossed 9.

 

Next up in the semi-finals, Berdych will now face World No. 1 Rafael Nadal who had to dig deep on Thursday afternoon to beat Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes.

 

After dropping the first set on a lone break, Nadal, who is yet to win his first Miami trophy after three final appearances, broke the big-serving Canadian twice in the second and once in the third to secure the match.  Against Berdych, Nadal will enter the match with head-to-head career match record of 17-3, including a 16-match winning streak over the Czech star.

 

Nadal started his 2014 season the Qatar Open in Doha beating Gaël Monfils in the final. In the Australian Open, he defeated Federer to reach his third Australian Open final where the Mallorcan lost to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, whom he entered the match with a 12-0 record without dropping a set, after suffering a back injury losing the match in four sets. 

 

Nadal resumed playing winning the inaugural Rio Open defeating Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final extending his record of ATP 500 titles to 15. At Indian Wells Masters, Dolgopolov would avenge his loss, defeating Nadal in three sets in the third round.

Miami Women's Singles Semi-finals Thursday Mar 27

1-Serena Williams beat 4-Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3

2-Li Na beat 10-Dominika Cibulkova 7-5 2-6 6-3

 

Miami Men's Singles Quarter-finals Thursday Mar 27

7-Tomas Berdych beat 22-Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4 7-6(3)

1-Rafael Nadal beat 12-Milos Raonic 4-6 6-2 6-4

 

Miami Men's Doubles Semi-finals Thursday Mar 27

J.Cabal/R.Farah beat R.Harrison/J.Sock 2-6 6-4 11-9

1-B.Bryan/M.Bryan beat 8-M.Llodra/N.Mahut 7-6(2) 6-2

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