WTA Sony Open: Serena Williams recovers from a set down to reach last eight
Last Updated: 25/03/13 11:20pm
Serena Williams: Won five games in a row to take the second set after being 4-1 down at one stage
Serena Williams made it through to her 12th quarter-final at the Sony Open in Miami, though only after surviving a major scare against Dominika Cibulkova.
The world number one lost the first set and then found herself trailing 4-1 in the second before finally hitting something near top form, allowing her to eventually clinch a 2-6 6-4 6-2 triumph.
Williams reeled off five successive games to level matters at a set apiece and then moved a double break up at 5-2 in the decider; she clinched the match in style with three aces, the last of them meaning she served out to love.
The American came out on top in the see-saw contest despite an incredible 52 unforced errors, 27 of which came on her backhand side.
"Mentally I was just struggling," Williams said of her sluggish start against the 13th seed.
"I was playing a really good opponent and I was making so many unforced errors out there - I couldn't pull myself together."
Cibulkova will lament another missed opportunity to claim a big-name scalp in Miami - she had been a set and 5-2 up against then world No 1 Victoria Azarenka at the same stage last year before being beaten in three.
Next up for Williams will be Li Na, the fifth seed from China having come through by a 7-6 (8/6) 6-2 scoreline against Garbine Muguruza on Monday.
Li had led 5-1 in the first set but service issues allowed her Spanish opponent, who had caused an upset by knocking out Caroline Wozniacki in the last round, to claw her way back onto level terms.
Teenager Muguruza then rallied again from 6-1 down in the tie-break, only to surrender the set by losing the next two points.
The second proved to be much more straightforward for Li, who is playing for the first time since picking up an ankle injury at the Australian Open at the start of the year.
Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska recovered from a set down against American Sloane Stephens, winning the last nine games on the spin to triumph 4-6 6-2 6-0.