Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Serena Williams defeated Simona Halep in a thrilling match at the Miami Open. Williams moves on to play Carla Suarez Navarro in the final on Saturday.

April 03, 2015

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP)—The previous two matchups between Serena Williams and Simona Halep were blowouts.

This one was a thriller.

Williams is making another trip to the Miami Open women's final, after beating Halep 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in a 2-hour, 7-minute classic on Thursday night. Looking for her eighth title at Key Biscayne, the top-seeded Williams meets 12th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain on Saturday.

"I made so many errors and I was like 'Serena, just come to the net at this point, because that's the only thing that was working for me,'" Williams said. "I'm just really happy to get through that. It was actually a really fun match and I was able to come out and play here tonight."

Halep, the No. 3 seed from Romania, beat Williams 6-0, 6-2 last year during round-robin play at the WTA Finals. Williams returned the favor later in that tournament, 6-3, 6-0. They were to meet in the semifinals at Indian Wells last month, but a balky right knee forced Williams out of that matchup.

The knee wasn't a problem in this one. Halep was, but as is usually the case, Williams found a way. She had 38 winners to Halep's 10, overcoming 45 unforced errors.

"Keep trying, that's all I could do," Williams said. "I never gave up."

Williams is 4-0 all-time against Suarez Navarro, who's assured of reaching the Top 10 in the world rankings win or lose.

The win also means Williams will extend her reign atop the rankings to at least 116 weeks, which passes Chris Evert's 113-week run for third-longest in WTA history. Only Steffi Graf (186) and Martina Navratilova (156) have been there longer in succession.

Suarez Navarro got her finals ticket after topping Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 earlier Thursday.

"It's a really important tournament for me," said Suarez Navarro, the first Spanish woman to make the final at Key Biscayne since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1993. "I just practice all day, all the time during the offseason to play in a final like this."

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)