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Serena powers way into final

TENNIS: World number one Serena Williams continued her decade-long domination over Maria Sharapova with a clinical 6-4 6-3 win yesterday to reach her ninth Sony Open final in Miami.

The rematch of last year's final produced the same result as Williams ran her winning streak against Sharapova to 15 matches, a stunning run that stretches back to 2004.

Sharapova and Williams were expected to develop into one of the great rivalries in women's tennis. But it has not quite worked out that way with Williams winning 16-of-18 meetings between the two.

In Sharapova's 16 losses, the Russian has only managed to take two sets off the 17-times grand slam winner.

Williams will face second seed Li Na in the final after the Chinese edged out Dominika Cibulkova in three sets.

Li beat the Slovakian in the Australian Open final in January and although Cibulkova gave a better account of herself in Miami, she still came out on the losing side as her 32-year-old opponent triumphed 7-5 2-6 6-3.


SNOOKER: John Higgins is through to the quarter-finals of the Wyldecrest Parks Players Championship Grand Final after overcoming Ben Woollaston at the Guild Hall in Preston, but Ronnie O'Sullivan is out.

Four-time world champion Higgins could only register a top break of 56 but was good enough to see off Leicester potter Woolaston 4-2.

The Scot will face Marco Fu after the world number eight beat Mark Williams by the same score. Mark Allen is also through after he defeated Ireland's Fergal O'Brien 4-1.

O'Sullivan bowed out, stunned by Yu Delu. His Chinese opponent restricted the world champion to just two points in the final two frames to win 4-3.


TENNIS: World number one Rafael Nadal battled back from a set down to overcome 12th seed Milos Raonic and reach the semi-finals of the Sony Open.

Nadal was given a stern test by his Canadian opponent, but the 13-time grand slam winner came through and remains on course for a maiden title in Miami.

The 27-year-old Spaniard was caught cold in the first set but stormed back to take the match 4-6 6-2 6-4.


DARTS: Phil Taylor will play in the second phase of the Premier League after he battled to a 6-6 draw with Raymond van Barneveld on a noisy night in Dublin.

Ten thousand fans packed The O2 to watch the two great rivals clash in their latest encounter, but Van Barneveld again failed to get one over his old foe on the Premier League stage.