Nadal in semifinals, Serena outclasses Sharapova again

Nadal in semifinals, Serena  outclasses Sharapova again

World number one Rafael Nadal took another step towards a first Miami title by out-slugging big-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Sony Open.

Nadal, a three-time runner-up on the Miami hardcourts, will play seventh seed Tomas Berdych for a place in Sunday's final after the Czech eased into the last four with 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The other semifinal will see world number two Novak Djokovic take on Japan's Kei Nishikori, who has already beaten fourth seed David Ferrer and 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.

Nadal's resume includes 62career titles, including two this year but the Miami trophy has consistently eluded the 13-time Grand Slam winner.

The Spaniard, however, has been in brilliant form in Miami appearing determined to correct that oversight.

Raonic's booming serve, that included a couple at 140-mph plus, kept Nadal on his heels in the opening set but it was the world number one's own serve that let him down when he double faulted on break point at 5-4 down to gift the 12th seeded Canadian the set.

It marked the first time Nadal's serve had been broken in Miami and the unhappy Spaniard struck back by breaking Raonic twice to surge to a 4-0 lead in the second on the way to leveling the match.

He then gained the upper hand in the third set with a decisive break at 4-3 then held serve to complete the victory.

Serena in final

Serena Williams and Li Na swept past familiar foes on Thursday, setting up an exciting showdown for the Miami hardcourt crown between the world's top ranked players.

World number one Williams continued her utter domination of Maria Sharapova with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the fourth-seeded Russian, while second-ranked Li won a rematch of her Australian Open final, beating Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 to maintain her perfect record against the Slovakian.

A six-time Miami champion, the American's victory ran her winning streak against Sharapova to 15 matches, a stunning run that stretches back to 2004. Williams has won 16 of the 18 meetings between the pair.

In Sharapova's 16 losses, the Russian has only managed to take two sets off the 17-time Grand Slam winner.

A five-time runner-up in Miami, Sharapova had her chances to end the drought by grabbing an early break in both sets but could not turn the advantage into a win.

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