Halep bows out but more struggles with Serena await

Fri Apr 3, 2015 1:51am EDT
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - Simona Halep is emerging as one of the few players on Tour capable of putting up a real fight against Serena Williams and the Romanian's performance in Thursday's Miami Open semi-final was another indication of her growing stature in the game.

Halep pushed the 19-times grand slam winner all the way before Williams sealed a 6-2 4-6 7-5 win at Key Biscayne to book her place in Saturday's final against Carla Suarez Navarro.

With world number two Maria Sharapova having a 2-17 record against Williams and without a win over her in more than 10 years, Halep has emerged as the player most likely to give the American a run for her money.

She has certainly won Williams' respect.

"I love watching her play. I'm actually a fan of hers," Williams said after her 10th victory in 10 Miami semi-finals.

"I like her attitude. I like how she gets pumped up. I like how she fights. I like how she plays.

"I think it's fun to watch and different. It's a refreshing type of game."

Halep said before the tournament she could not imagine rising to top spot in the rankings as long as Williams was still playing but also made it clear she did not think the 33-year-old was unbeatable.   Continued...

Apr 2, 2015; Key Biscayne, FL, USA; Simona Halep hits a forehand against Serena Williams (not pictured) in a women's singles semi-final on day eleven of the Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center. Williams won 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports