Serena reaches Miami semis

Miami, FL ( - Seven-time champion Serena Williams was a hard-fought quarterfinal winner Wednesday at the $5.3 million Miami Open tennis event.

The world No. 1 superstar was tested mightily in a 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-3 decision against 27th-seeded German Sabine Lisicki on the hardcourts at Crandon Park. Williams needed just over two hours to move on, which she did despite having her mighty serve broken six times, compared to five breaks for the winner.

Lisicki stunned Williams in a fourth-round affair at Wimbledon two years ago. The American, however, now leads their lifetime series 3-1.

The incomparable Williams has appeared in nine Miami Open finals, going 7-2 in those title tilts.

The 33-year-old reigning Australian and U.S. Open champ beat since-retired Li Na in last year's finale for a second straight title in "Magic City."

The 19-time Grand Slam titlist will meet red-hot third-seeded Romanian star Simona Halep or fellow American Sloane Stephens in Thursday's semifinals. Last year's French Open runner-up Halep has won her last 13 matches on tour, which includes a title at Indian Wells prior to this Miami fortnight.

Halep and Stephens have split four career meetings on the WTA circuit.

The other semi will pit ninth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic against 12th- seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.