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Sony Open: Serena Williams beats Li Na to claim seventh Miami title

Sunday, 30 March 2014 - 8:55am IST | Place: Miami | Agency: Reuters
  • Serena Williams of the United States hugs the Butch Buchholz trophy after her straight sets victory against Li Na of China during their final match during day 13 at the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Centre. Serena Williams of the United States hugs the Butch Buchholz trophy after her straight sets victory against Li Na of China during their final match during day 13 at the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Centre. AFP

Proving there is no place like home, world number one Serena Williams swept past China's Li Na 7-5 6-1 in the final of the Sony Open on Saturday, collecting a record seventh win on the Miami hardcourts.

Williams, who lives an hour's drive from the Tennis Center at Crandon Park and considers the tournament her home event, treated the second ranked Li like an unwelcome guest, needing just two hours on a steamy centre court to collect her 59th career title, the $787,000 winner's purse pushing her career earnings over $55 million.

In 14 appearances at the Miami event Williams has driven back to her Palm Beach Gardens home with the trophy half the time, her seven titles two better than the five each she has won at Australian, U.S. Open and Wimbledon grand slams.

After watching Li's forehand return slam into the net to end the contest, a delighted Williams danced around the court, raising seven fingers in the air signaling each of her Miami titles.

While Williams was critical of her performance earlier in the tournament, calling it unprofessional, the 32-year-old American has been at her best against top players, winning 15 straight over top 10 opponents.

A minority owner in the National Football League Miami Dolphins, a smiling Williams stepped out onto centre court to wild applause from the home crowd dressed in the orange and turquoise colours of her team.

The ovation, however, failed to inspire Williams as a determined Li seized the early initiative, breaking the American to open the contest and again in the seventh game to storm to a 5-2 lead.

But with Li serving for the set, Williams made her stand, overwhelming her Chinese opponent by sweeping 11 of the next 12 games.

Williams launched her comeback by fighting off two set points to record her first break at 5-3 and broke again at 5-5 to get back on level terms against an unsteady Li.

A screaming, fist-pumping Williams, now in top gear held serve to take the lead for the first time and then added one more break to steal the first set from a crumbling Li, who was now in full meltdown.

Williams may have needed a while to warm up on a hot humid afternoon but once on track there seemed little Li could do to derail the 17-times grand slam winner.

Li held her opening serve of the second set but a ruthless Williams moved in quickly to deliver the knockout punch roaring through the next five games. 




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