Serena Hobbles, Azarenka Chokes Way Into Miami Final
by Staff | April 3rd, 2009, 11:16 am

They both limped and grimaced with screaming grunts signifying the sound and fury, but it was the younger sister Serena coming out the victor in the Williams vs. Williams battle Thursday night at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, defeating Venus 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to advance into the final.

The win will see Serena keep her No. 1 ranking come Monday, as a loss before the final would have elevated Russian Dinara Safina into the top spot for the first time.

The win also evened the sister rivalry at a career 10-10 win-loss for each.

Serena was limping badly and grimacing between points by the end of the third set, but when the point started was dashing side-to-side at top speed, seemingly unhindered.

“I was also thinking I’d love to remain No. 1, so obviously I’m really excited about that,” Serena told reporters. “I think I was more happy about that than winning the match at the end. I’m really happy to get over this one.”

Venus had beaten Serena earlier this year in Dubai, and at their previous meeting in the 2008 year-end tour championships.

“It was a well-fought match. My serve wasn’t going as well as I wanted but she brought a lot of balls back and played really tough,” Venus said. “When I come to a tournament I come to win. So I’m disappointed right now. But I’m looking forward to working hard and doing better next time.”

In the final Serena will face Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, who overcame a bout of choking to defeat another mentally-challenged opponent, Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Azarenka served for the match at 5-4 in the third, immediately slamming her racquet repeatedly on the court after netting a backhand to go down 0-30, eventually losing serve when she double faulted on game point. She broke the next game, then served out the match for the win.

“When it got back to 5-all, I just thought that I had to keep going, no matter what,” Azarenka said. “She played well on the match points, so it’s not something I lost. I’m so happy I found the energy to fight at the end. It wasn’t so much energy in the last few games, more like adrenaline. It was getting really, really tough to even walk through the last points.”

Azarenka is 2-4 in tour finals, and trails Serena 0-2 in career meetings. Azarenka won the first set off Serena at this year’s Australian Open before retiring in the second set with illness.

You Might Like:
Sharapova Shrieked-Down by Azarenka in Miami Final
Choky Kuzy Wins, Williams on Wednesday at Sony Ericsson Miami
Serena Won’t Play Dubai Either, Her Back Is Bad
Former Champions Serena, Konta Collide Tonight In San Jose; Stephens, Wozniacki In D.C.
Azarenka Wins Miami, Clinches Elusive Indian Wells-Miami Double

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

5 Comments for Serena Hobbles, Azarenka Chokes Way Into Miami Final

Tosin O Says:

Is it just me or why do i feel uncomfortable with the author of this article calling Kuznetsova mentally challenged…thats a word used for someone thats mad.

I think we all need to be careful how we categorized people so we dont bring out the worse in all of us. I am not a fan of her, but its still very insulting

jane Says:

If Azarenka can’t pull off the upset, at the least, I hope she makes a good match of it.

Giner Says:

Doesn’t seem like articles on women’s tennis get much comments around here. Is no one reading them, or is there nothing to comment on?

jane Says:

Congratulations to Azarenka on her biggest title yet! Serena may’ve been injured but Azarenka should nonetheless be commended particularly for her focus. Good for her, the WTA needs someone to shake things up. I thought it’d be Safina based on her play last year, but she’s proven to be inconsistent so far, both mentally and in terms of her serve.

doobee doug da dinker Says:

Great win Azarenka!!! I saw you in Memphis and your footwork was incredible from my front row seat ofcourse.

Top story: Djokovic Cruises Into Tokyo Olympics QFs, Tsitsipas Upset, Murray Done; Men's QF Thurs
Most Recent story: Svitolina Reaches Olympics SFs, Muguruza Upset By Rybakina