Defiant Williams sets up Konta clash in Miami
Kiki Bertens had Venus Williams on the ropes in a topsy-turvy third-round match at the Miami Open, but the veteran American prevailed.
Venus Williams saved three match points to beat Kiki Bertens in an almighty Miami Open battle and will face defending champion Johanna Konta in the fourth round.
Three-time champion Williams was on the brink of following the likes of her sister Serena, world number one Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki out but hung in there to win 5-7 6-3 7-5 on Sunday.
An aggressive Konta had no such trouble, the 11th seed easing to a 6-2 6-1 victory in her first meeting with Elise Mertens.
Sixth seed Jelena Ostapenko saw off Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 7-6 (7-2), while Monica Puig followed up her win over Australian Open champion Wozniacki by getting the better of Maria Sakkari 6-3 7-5.
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina came from a set down to beat Daria Gavrilova 4-6 6-0 6-1, while two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Danielle Collins, Ashleigh Barty also made it through.
BATTLING VENUS BACK FROM THE BRINK
Bertens was within touching distance of the last 16 when she served for the match in the final set, but a defiant Williams was not finished yet
The 37-year-old eighth seed from America saved a couple of match points to stay on serve and another before holding at 5-5 and secured a third break in a row after coming up with fierce backhand winners.
Williams – a seven-time grand slam champion – served out the match to love to deny 29th seed Bertens in a topsy-turvy encounter.
"It didn't look good at times, but that is what you keep playing until the last point and that is why I love this game." said Williams.
KONTA EYEING A REPEAT
Konta has endured a poor 2018, but back-to-back straight-sets victories has lifted the Brit this week.
The 11th seed's positive approach paid off against Mertens, who was broken six times and was knocked out in just 65 minutes.
Konta said: "I definitely have a great relationship with this tournament, the biggest title of my career has come here. Hopefully I can get to the end again."
HARD WORK PAYING OFF FOR OSTAPENKO
Like Konta, Ostapenko has also failed to hit the heights this year after a sensational French Open triumph in 2017.
The Latvian was too good for Haddad Maia, hitting 17 winners and breaking five times to stay in the hunt for a first title of the season.
"It was a tough year in the beginning because I was in the Top 10 so there weren't too many easy matches. But I'm working harder every day, I'm very motivated, and I think I'm getting better." said the Latvian.