Serena to face Halep after 700th win

Serena Williams marked another milestone, punching her semi-final ticket at the Miami Open with her 700th career match win, a 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-3 triumph over Sabine Lisicki.

Williams will face a familiar foe for a place in the final, taking on popular Romanian Simona Halep, a 6-1 7-5 winner over Sloane Stephens.

World No.1 Williams became the eighth player to win 700 WTA matches.

Martina Navratilova owns the most match wins, with 1442.

“I didn’t know I had 700, now I just want to keep going, doing the best that I can,” said the 33-year-old American, who was presented with a cake from tournament organisers after the victory.

“(I’m) just staying positive and winning as much as I can,” added Williams, who grabbed her 19th grand slam title at the Australian Open this year.

Third-seeded Halep dominated Stephens, racing to a 6-1 3-0 lead before the American dug in.

Stephens won five of the next six games to take a 5-4 lead in the second but couldn’t force a third set.

Halep has some history with Williams.

The Romanian is the last woman to beat the US superstar on the WTA tour, humbling the world No.1 6-0 6-2 in the round robin phase of the WTA Finals in Singapore in October.

Williams rebounded quickly – beating Halep 6-3 6-0 in the final days later.

“I have just to play aggressive against Serena like I did today at the beginning the match,” Halep said.

“I think this is the most important thing to have to the chance against her.”

Williams and Halep were to have faced off in the semi-finals at Indian Wells a fortnight ago, but Williams withdrew from the match with a knee injury.

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