For a set it was a stern test from the world No. 2, but Serena Williams held her world No. 1 ground 7-5, 6-1 over China’s Li Na on Saturday to win her seventh Sony Open title in Miami.
What does it mean for her world No. 1 status?
She still maintains a sizeable lead at No. 1, but the Chinese has shown that she can hang with Serena, despite the 11-1 head-to-head advantage for the American.
In the Sony Open final, Li held a 5-2 lead in the first set before Serena reeled off five straight games. Li established the lead by pounding winners off the ground, one of the few players on tour along with Victoria Azarenka who can hurt Serena from the back court.
The match could have been a preview of the next Grand Slam final at the French Open where Li has already raised the trophy.
“Keeping healthy is the most important thing for me, and just trying to do the best I can,” Li said of the upcoming claycourt season.
Serena’s emotions upon pulling out the first set showed how much the victory meant to her.
“It was a really important victory, especially playing Li Na, who has been playing so well,” Williams said. “She started out so well — I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just need to hang in here.’ Then I heard some fans trying to pull me through — if it hadn’t been for you guys I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
Serena won’t have her American fans, save at The Family Cup this coming week, to pull her through the claycourt season, so it will be interesting to see if Serena can continue to show that 30 is the new 20.
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