By Mark Poulose
KEY BISCAYNE - Seven-time champion Serena Williams guns for her 8th title at the Miami Open today against 12th seeded Carla Suarez Navarro.
“I think [Suarez Navarro] is playing the best tennis she’s played,” Williams said following her semifinal win. “I feel like going out there I have to be a better player and play the best I can.”
Suarez Navarro has never beaten Serena in four tries.
Serena recently won her 700th career match, after defeating Sabine Lisicki in the quarterfinals. The world No. 1 defeated third seeded Simona Halep, perhaps the hottest player on tour, in the semifinals.
Regardless of the result on Sunday, Serena will have held the top spot in the women’s rankings a mind-boggling 110 consecutive weeks. Her reign atop the rankings is the fourth longest streak of all-time trailing only streaks by Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf.
The Spaniard is in the midst of the best tennis of her career, entering Miami at a career high ranking of 12 and as the highest-ranking Spanish woman. The Spanish No. 1 has also defeated four seeded opponents en route to the final, including No. 7 Aggie Radwanska, No. 9 Andrea Petkovic, and No. 16 Venus Williams.
Suarez Navarro has defeated two top five opponents this season, but will face her stiffest test from the defending champion Serena Williams. The Miami Open trophy ceremony, celebrating a 30 year history of success, will include the first ever champion of the event, Martina Navratilova.