KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Five-time champion Serena Williams advanced Tuesday to the Sony Open semifinals and tied the women's record for career victories in the tournament by beating No. 5-seeded Li Na 6-3, 7-6 (5).
The top-ranked Williams overcame six double-faults and rallied in the second set from a 5-2 deficit. She hit six winners in the tiebreaker, including a forehand passing shot cross-court on the final point.
Williams, who won her most recent Key Biscayne title in 2008, improved to 59-7 in the tournament. Steffi Graf, another five-time champion, went 59-6.
No. 3 David Ferrer advanced to the men's quarterfinals by beating No. 13 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2. Ferrer's next opponent will be unseeded Jurgen Melzer, who rallied past Albert Ramos 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
On a breezy, sun-splashed afternoon, Williams and Li both struggled with their second serve. Li had seven double-faults, with three giving Williams her only break points.
In the tiebreaker, Williams didn't need a second serve. She hit consecutive service winners for a 4-3 lead, then two more to go up 6-5.
When Williams smacked a winner on match point she jumped for joy, with fist raised.
Williams, who is assured of remaining No. 1 next week, will play Thursday against the winner of the quarterfinal Tuesday night between defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 30-seeded Kirsten Flipkens.