Serena, Sharapova again on Miami collision course

Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:29pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - Six-times Miami champion Serena Williams and five-times runner-up Maria Sharapova remained on another Sony Open collision course after each recorded fourth-round wins on Monday.

While Williams and Sharapova clashed in last year's final there will be no championship rematch on Saturday at Crandon Park with the American and Russian on the same side of the draw and closing in on a semi-final showdown.

After getting her title defense off to a slow start world number one Williams, who lives an hour's drive from the Crandon Park Tennis Center and considers the event her home tournament, stepped it up a gear against Coco Vandeweghe sweeping past the young American qualifier 6-3 6-1 in 79 minutes.

"I was definitely happier today," Williams told reporters. "I was really struggling my first two matches, so I just wanted to have a better performance today.

"Going into the match I knew I could only do better. That kind of helped out, too."

Fourth seed Sharapova got a much-needed wake-up call after sleep-walking her way through the opening set before dispatching Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Former world number one and 12th seed Ana Ivanovic seemed headed for a quarter-final berth after comfortably taking the first set against eighth seed Czech Petra Kvitova but fell apart after that, committing 11 double faults en route to a stunning 3-6 6-0 6-0 loss.

Williams, a minority owner of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins, once again stepped onto the court dressed in her team's turquoise and orange colors and kicked off the match by claiming the only break of the opening set for the early lead.   Continued...

Maria Sharapova reacts during her match against Lucie Safarova (not pictured) on day six of the Sony Open at Crandon Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports