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Williams and Li Na to face-off in Miami final
Australian Open Champion Li Na will challenge Serena Williams for the Miami Masters crown, after the top two ranked players in the ladies game both won their semifinals on the hardcourts of Crandon Park.
In other action, Rafa Nadal edged closer to a potential blockbuster final against Novak Djokovic, when he advanced through to a semifinal showdown with Czech Tomas Berdych.
World number 1 Serena Williams, marched through to a 9th final in Miami when she continued her dominance over rival Maria Sharapova with another straight sets win. In a repeat of the 2013 final, the 6 times Miami champion, dismissed Sharapova, 6/4, 6/3, the Russian being broken on serve 5 times, committing 29 unforced errors in a the sided affair.
It was the 15th straight victory for the American over her rival, improving her lifetime record to 16-2 over Sharapova.
Li Na will stand in the way of Williams and a 7th title after she defeated Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, 7/5, 2/6, 6/3 in the other semifinal, a rematch of her Australian Open Grand Slam win. Li also defeated her opponent in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells and her Miami win improved her lifetime record to 7-0.
The Chinese superstar has had a superb start to the season after winning in Shenzhen and at Melbourne Park, with a 23-2 season record, while her opponent titled in Brisbane and is 14-2 overall this season however Williams will start as firm favourite in her local tournament considering her 10-2 lifetime domination over her Chinese opponent.
In the mens draw, Rafa Nadal edged closer to a potential final showdown against Novak Djokovic after a battling 4/6, 6/2, 6/4 win over Canadian slugger Milos Raonic.
Tomas Berdych will be the Spaniard’s semifinal opponent after the Czech held off giant killer Alexandr Dolgopolov, 6/4, 7/6.
Berdych, tasted success earlier this year when he lifted the trophy in Rotterdam, and will be looking to reach his second final in Miami after doing so in 2010 when he lost to Andy Roddick. The Czech hasn’t beaten Nadal since 2006 and has a record of 3-17 against the left-hander.
Nadal meanwhile, has won titles in Rio and Acapulco already this season and has been a losing finalist on 3 occasions in Miami, something he will be desperate to put right on his way to a potential 27th Masters title.
The other semifinal sees Kei Nishikori take aim at Novak Djokovic. Nishikori stunned a resurgent Roger Federer in the last round and will be looking for another big name scalp this afternoon against the 3 times champion, an opponent he has previously beaten on the 2 occasions they have played.
The Serbian world number 2 is looking to follow up his Masters win at Indian Wells with a fourth title in Miami and a semifinal win over Nishikori could set up the blockbuster showdown against his rival Nadal.