Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Serena Williams will play for her third straight Miami Open title on Saturday after surviving a tough semifinal test from third-seeded Simona Halep.
The top-seeded Williams looked poised for an easy win after dropping only four points on her serve in the first set. Halep, however, converted her first break point in the second set and held serve to force a deciding third.
A frustrated Williams failed to serve out the match at 5-3, then broke Halep at love to close out the two-hour, eight-minute slugfest with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 victory.
The outcome was somewhat of a redemption for Williams, whose knee injury forced her to miss a semifinal match against Halep at Indian Wells two weeks ago. Halep eventually won the title and was looking to become the third player to pull off the Indian Wells-Miami sweep. She had her 15-matching winning streak come to an end.
Williams continued her dominance with a 17th straight victory in this event and improved to 10-0 in semifinals here. Standing in the way of an eighth Miami title is 12th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
Suarez Navarro blew past ninth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 in 1 hour, 27 minutes in Thursday's first semifinal at Crandon Park.
Suarez Navarro improved to 3-2 lifetime against "Petko," including 1-1 this year. The German topped the Spaniard in a final in Antwerp back in February.
Suarez Navarro owns one title on the WTA circuit, and that came last year in Oeiras, Portugal. She's 1-6 in her career finals, including the loss in Antwerp this season.
Williams, meanwhile, owns 65 career titles and has not lost a set in four career matches against Suarez Navarro.