MIAMI – Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the Miami Open final with a 6-3, 6-3 victory Thursday afternoon over Andrea Petkovic, ensuring she will break into the WTA’s top 10 for the first time.
The No. 12 seed needed one hour and 27 minutes to book her first berth in the final of one of the four Premier Mandatory tournaments, which after the Grand Slams and the year-end WTA Finals are the biggest events in women’s tennis.
Suarez Navarro also became the first Spanish woman to reach the final of this hard-court event since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario won the title in 1993.
Petkovic, the No. 9 seed, came into Thursday’s match looking to reach her second Premier Mandatory final, but the German scarcely troubled Suarez Navarro and did not manage even a single break point over two sets.
Suarez Navarro, who has reached at least the quarterfinals in seven of the eight tournaments she has played this year, moved well and struck the ball solidly from the backcourt, particularly off the forehand side.
The 26-year-old native of the Canary Islands squandered three break-point chances during a 13-point, eight-minute opening game, but she grabbed a 2-1 lead over the German No. 9 seed two games later and then finished off the set with a second break of serve in the ninth game.
Suarez kept up her strong returning in the second set, and that pressure paid dividends when Petkovic dropped serve in the sixth game to fall behind 6-3, 4-2.
The Spaniard, who had been forced to withdraw from this year’s Antwerp final due to neck pain, allowing Petkovic to win by walkover, then calmly finished off Thursday’s match with a pair of service holds.
Next up for Suarez Navarro in Saturday’s final will be American seven-time champion Serena Williams, the top seed, or Romanian No. 3 seed Simona Halep, who will square off Thursday night.
Regardless of the outcome of the championship match, Suarez Navarro will move into the top 10 for the first time when the new rankings are released on Monday.
In other action Thursday afternoon at the Miami Open, big-serving American No. 22 seed John Isner advanced to the men’s semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 upset victory over Japanese No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori.
He will next take on the winner of Thursday evening’s match pitting top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia against Spanish No. 6 seed David Ferrer.