There will be a 'repeat' of the semi-final that never was at Indian Wells, when Serena Williams takes on Simona Halep at the Miami Open. Serena endured her personal travails before overcoming Sabine Lisicki in three sets, playing a sub-standard second set en-route, while the number three seed Halep was a rather more convincing straight sets winner over the young American Sloane Stephens.

Both players were scheduled to face each other at the previous event, but the Romanian was given a bye through to the final which she ultimately won. Serena seems to be over the knee injury that forced her to pull out of her last event and will be eager to defeat her younger opponent this time, as she looks to add to the seven singles titles she has previously claimed in Miami.

Halep has continued her fine form during this tournament and will be keen to test herself against the number one seed, with some observers no doubt believing that she was effectively handed the title at Indian Wells after Serena's withdrawal, even though the final with Jelena Jankovic in the final analysis proved to be a tough match to win anyway.

Ms Williams started the better against her talented German opponent in the quarter-finals, taking the first set in a close tie-break 7-4, after saving a set point earlier on. On one of Lisicki's better days on the tour (remembering that she once made the final at Wimbledon), the 27th seed took advantage of a poor set by Serena to level the match at a set apiece, taking six games on the bounce after losing her own serve at the start of the set.

That seemed to provide the wake-up call that the 33-year-old American required though, as she regained her composure to take the third and deciding set, winning the match as a result 7-6 1-6 6-3 in a fraction over two hours.

Halep enjoyed a far smoother ride through to the semi-finals, defeating Stephens 6-1 7-5.

Large cakes seem to be much in evidence in Miami, as Serena was presented with a rather tasty Tennis-themed looking one to celebrate her 700th career victory, in much the same manner as Andy Murray did earlier in the week when he reached his own 500th victory milestone at the event.

Serena became only the eighth player to pass the 700 win mark on the WTA tour, with the legendary Martina Navratilova leading the way on a quite staggering 1442, a mark that seems unlikely to be beaten for the foreseeable future by any other player.