The world no. 3 Simona Halep is through to the second semi-final in Miami (she lost to Serena Williams four years ago) after a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 triumph over the 18th seed Qiang Wang in an hour and 37 minutes, moving closer to regain the WTA throne on Monday.
Last year at Indian Wells, Simona scored a 7-5, 6-1 win over the Chinese and she had to work harder today, losing almost half of the points on serve and suffering five breaks from 12 opportunities she gave to Wang. On the other hand, Qiang was even less efficient behind the initial shot, playing against eight break points and giving serve away on seven occasions to end her run in the quarter-final, wasting a colossal chance to force a decider after squandering a 5-1 lead and three set points in set number two.
Halep had 24 winners and 34 unforced errors, leaving Wang on a 14-25 ratio and digging deep to pull that second part of the match and seal the deal in straight sets. The Romanian broke three times in a row at the beginning of the encounter to open a 4-1 lead before Wang reduced the deficit when Simona netted a backhand in game six to lose serve.
Both players served well in the remaining four games and Halep clinched the opener with a forehand down the line winner in game ten for a 6-4 after 45 minutes. Tables turned in set number two, with Qiang who had the upper hand on the return to score three straight breaks and forge a 5-1 advantage.
With no intense to step back, Halep won 12 of the next 13 points and was back on track, breaking in game nine at love with a backhand down the line winner before facing a massive challenge on serve in the following game.
In the one last push, the Chinese created three set points that Simona erased with some good hitting, winning five points in a row and leveling the score at 5-5 after a mind-blowing backhand down the line winner. There was no way back for Wang after she sprayed such a huge advantage, getting broken for the third straight time in game 11 when she netted a backhand, sending another groundstroke long in the next game to lose the sixth game in a row and send Halep into the last four.