An unstoppable Serena Williams dismantled defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-3 to secure her eighth appearance in the final at the Sony Open and with her 60th victory moved past Steffi Graff as the winningest female in Miami.
The world number one came out with her guns blazing. The crowd had barely taken its seat when Williams posted a double break edge on the scoreboard.
When Radwanska’s service return sailed wide, Williams went ahead 5-0. The spectators at that point started the wave in the hopes of snapping Radwanska out of her slumber.
Instead, it was Williams painting the line with a backhand volley winner to manufacture set point. Soon, the American fired her 19th winner to put a period on a masterful opening set.
Williams was undoubtedly “in the zone”. At some juncture, she would be expected to come down to earth. By sending a forehand long, the world number one faced her initial break point of the night. Yet, by forcing a mistake from the opposition, Williams stayed on serve for 2-1.
After Radwanska kept in touch with Williams for five games, her serve, a huge liability, betrayed her. As a consequence of a forehand service winner, Williams arrived at break point. She converted by nailing a forehand winner for 4-2.
Later, Williams consolidated for 5-2. Despite committing her only double fault as she served for a spot in the final, on Williams’ initial match point she struck gold when Radwanska dumped a backhand into the net.
After having her back against the wall in the fourth round down 2-6,1-4 against Dominika Cilbukova and a tough match in the quarterfinals versus Na Li, for Williams tonight was a welcomed change.
Serena stated “it definitely felt really good today. I kept my unforced errors rather low. . .I didn’t start out the best. . .a lot of things in my head were going crazy, but, just steady. Slow and steady hopefully wins the race”.
In addition, Williams expressed “when you work so hard , you expect to get results. That’s how it always is for me”. Results will mean the trophy and a record breaking sixth Miami title on Saturday. Currently, Williams is leveled with Graff in that department.
In order to accomplish that feat, Williams needs to go through world number two Maria Sharapova.
Despite dominating their rivalry with an 11-2 mark and Sharapova’s ultimate victory in 2004, Williams isn’t prematurely etching her name on the trophy “every match is a new match. I love playing her. I love seeing her on the opposite side because she just brings out a good game. I just like the challenge of playing someone who has made history and who is doing so well. I just want to play well against a great player”.
With Sharapova clipping at Williams’ heels for the number one spot does that make her any hungrier for the title? Williams answered “it’s always motivating. For me, I just try to focus on one day at a time and one title at a time and just doing well”.
Both ladies are passionate about their craft and hate runner up status. Serena stated “ I don’t know anyone in life who hates losing more than I do”. On Saturday, someone will be disappointed. One will make history with a sixth title while the other will hoist the Miami trophy for the first time after being unsuccessful on four previous occasions.