Serena Williams advances to Key Biscayne semis

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Five-time champion Serena Williams advanced Tuesday to the Sony Open semifinals and tied the women's record for career victories in the tournament by beating No. 5-seeded Li Na 6-3, 7-6 (5).

The top-ranked Williams overcame six double-faults and rallied in the second set from a 5-2 deficit. She hit six winners in the tiebreaker, including a forehand passing shot cross-court on the final point.

Williams, who won her most recent Key Biscayne title in 2008, improved to 59-7 in the tournament. Steffi Graf, another five-time champion, went 59-6.

No. 3 David Ferrer advanced to the men's quarterfinals by beating No. 13 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2. Ferrer's next opponent will be unseeded Jurgen Melzer, who rallied past Albert Ramos 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

On a breezy, sun-splashed afternoon, Williams and Li both struggled with their second serve. Li had seven double-faults, with three giving Williams her only break points.

In the tiebreaker, Williams didn't need a second serve. She hit consecutive service winners for a 4-3 lead, then two more to go up 6-5.

When Williams smacked a winner on match point she jumped for joy, with fist raised.

Williams, who is assured of remaining No. 1 next week, will play Thursday against the winner of the quarterfinal Tuesday night between defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 30-seeded Kirsten Flipkens.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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