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Miami Open: Venus outlasts Wozniacki, set for Navarro



Venus Williams salutes her fans after beating Caroline Wozniacki at the Miami Open…yesterday. PHOTO: GETTYIMAGES.

VENUS Williams maintained her mastery over Caroline Wozniacki yesterday, beating her fellow former world number one in a tight two-setter to reach the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.

Williams had never lost to Wozniacki in six career meetings going into the match, losing just one set no less, and this one looked headed the same way for a while as she won the first set, 6-3, and was just three games away from another straight set victory with the two even at three-all in the second.

The number four-seeded Wozniacki launched an assault from there, breaking then holding for a 5-3 lead, but the No.16-seeded Williams had her own momentum shift coming – she won 11 of the next 12 points to get things back to 5-all, and after back-to-back breaks the seven-time Grand Slam champion was totally unstoppable in the tie-break, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and eventually finishing it off, 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Williams had more than twice as many unforced errors as Wozniacki in the match, 37 to 17, but she had almost five times the winners, 43 to 9. She also came into the net 23 times, winning 14 of those. “Caroline plays so well. Our last match went down to the wire, and this one did too,” Williams said.

“I just went for it, to be honest. I respect her so much that I knew I had to bring my best game.” And what about the near-flawless tie-break? “I’ve lost a lot of tie-breaks, so I’ve learned from that,” she said. “Once you lose a few, you know you have to come in with a more aggressive attitude.”

Williams has won seven of her last eight matches against Top 10 players, a stretch that dates back to the start of the summer hard court season last July.

The loss came to Agnieszka Radwanska in Montréal. Radwanska could have been Williams’ quarterfinal opponent here in Miami, too, but it just wasn’t to be – the No.7-seeded Pole won a marathon 57-minute opening set but quickly began losing control of her match against Carla Suárez Navarro, dropping the second set at love in just 24 minutes and falling behind 5-2 in the third as well, the No.12-seeded Spaniard eventually closing it out, 5-7, 6-0, 6-4. Radwanska didn’t play badly in the match – she had an even winners-to-unforced errors differential of 31 to 31.

But Suárez Navarro was on fire with a +14 differential – 43 winners, 29 unforced errors. Suárez Navarro and Williams are tied in their head-to-head series, 2-2.

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