S. Williams beats Sharapova at Sony
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Between points, Serena Williams stood motionless behind the baseline with her back to the net, as if trying to match — or mimic — the methodical ritual of her opponent, Maria Sharapova.
They took turns waiting on each other, the pace of play plodding, which only delayed the inevitable. Williams beat Sharapova for the 15th consecutive time Thursday, rallying in both sets to win 6-4, 6-3 in the Sony Open semifinals.
“I have always felt when I’m playing at my best, then it’s hard for people to beat me,” Williams said.
Rafael Nadal could say the same. He advanced to the semifinals by hitting a flurry of forehand winners down the stretch to beat Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
On Saturday, the No. 1-ranked Williams will try for a record seventh Key Biscayne title against No. 2 Li Na, who overcame 40 unforced errors to beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. Williams is 10-1 against Li.
The No. 1-ranked Nadal, who is 0-3 in Key Biscayne finals, needs one more win to get there again. His opponent Friday night will be No. 7-seeded Tomas Berdych, who advanced by beating No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic will play in the other semifinal Friday against No. 20-seeded Kei Nishikori.
Perez, Lee share clubhouse lead at TPC
SAN ANTONIO — Long after the fog cleared at TPC San Antonio, Phil Mickelson remained shrouded in an increasingly alarming funk with the Masters two weeks away.
Mickelson shot a 5-over 77 on Thursday in the Texas Open to fall nine strokes back during the suspended first round. The 77 was Lefty’s highest score since a 78 in August in the PGA Championship.
Pat Perez and Danny Lee shot 4-under 68 to share the clubhouse lead and Andrew Loupe was 4 under with seven holes to play when darkness forced the suspension of play. The start was delayed 2 hours, 40 minutes because of fog.
Creamer, Uribe top Kia after first round
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Paula Creamer easily overcame tricky morning wind conditions in the Kia Classic for a share of the first-round lead with Mariajo Uribe.
Creamer and Uribe shot 5-under 67 at Aviara to finish a stroke ahead of Cristie Kerr, Shanshan Feng, Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Mi Hyang Lee.
By wire sources