American Sloane Stephens needed just over an hour to cruise past Germany’s former world number one Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-2 and reach the Miami Open semi-finals for her first time on Tuesday.
The U.S. Open champion fired her 22nd winner on match point to dispatch the 10th-seeded Kerber and set up a showdown with three-time champion Victoria Azarenka, who scored a 7-5 6-3 victory over world number six Karolina Pliskova.
The win guarantees that 25-year-old Florida native Stephens will make her debut in the top 10 when the WTA rankings are released after the tournament.
Tuesday’s win was Stephens’ second straight triumph over a former world number one after she defeated third-seeded Garbine Muguruza to reach the quarter-finals on Monday.
Azarenka continued her strong run in Miami where she has now won 11 straight dating back to her 2016 title triumph.
Azarenka, who broke Pliskova seven times, will be playing in her first semi-final in two years. The former world number one was absent from the game for eight months due to a custody dispute involving her son.