World No. 1 Serena Williams will seek her 8th Miami Open title Saturday in the women’s final against Carla Suarez Navarro.
Serena, who lives about an hour north of the Miami, has won her last 20 matches (17-0 this year) and will be the heavy favorite against the Spaniard who holds just one career title to her name and had never made it to the quarterfinals in Miami before.
The 26-year-old Suarez Navarro also has won just 10 games in four matches against Serena, and that includes a 6-0, 6-0 loss in the quarterfinals of the US Open in 2013.
“I’ve had success, but I’ve won four times,” Serena said after an epic win semifinal over Simona Halep Thursday night. “It’s not like I’ve won twenty times. I think she’s playing the best tennis she’s played. I think she is just a better player. So I feel like going out there I too have to be a better player and to play the best that I can.”
Suarez Navarro, though, wants to be No. 1. A big step from her first break into the Top 10 come Monday.
“Normally all the tennis player want to be No. 1, but the first step I think is be in top 100 and top 50, then top 20, top 10, and you never know,” Saurez Navarro said. “But I want to be No. 1.”
Saurez Navarro is not only trying to win her first match over a World No. 1, but also become the only active player with a 1-handed backhand to beat Serena. The last time the American lost to a player with a 1-handed backhand was to Justine Henin in the 2007 US Open quarterfinals.
Match time is 1pm ET Saturday.
* S.Williams is playing her 10th singles final at Miami, bidding for an eighth title. Since 1998, when Venus Williams won her first Miami title (d. Kournikova in F), just five Miami finals have not featured at least Venus or Serena.
* S.Williams is on a 17-match win streak at Miami (72-7 overall), her most recent loss being in QF in 2012 (l. Wozniacki). She is bidding to be the first player to win three successive Miami titles since she herself did so in 2002-2004. The only other player to accomplish this feat was Graf (1994-1996).
* S.Williams is bidding to win her 66th career singles title, which would take her to within one title of Billie Jean King who is currently sixth on the Open Era list.
* Suarez Navarro is through to her second final of 2015 and the biggest final of her career. At Antwerp in February – her first Premier-level final – she could not take to the court due to a neck injury, conceding a walkover to Petkovic.
* Suarez Navarro is the lowest ranked/seeded Miami finalist since 2011, when Sharapova was R-Up (l. Azarenka) as No.16 seed and ranked No.13. The last player to win the Miami title ranked and seeded outside the Top 10 was Kim Clijsters in 2010 (No.14 seed, ranked No.16; d. V.Williams in F).
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