On Monday in Miami, Simona Halep came out swinging and held off a late surge to beat Venus Williams, 6-3 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals of the Miami Open for the fourth time in the last five years.

Halep reeled off the first three games, winning nine points in a row in one stretch, to build a quick double-break lead. Venus got one of the breaks back and held to close the gap to 3-2, but Halep was too sharp, eventually breaking one more time to pocket the first set.

After the two players traded holds in the first two games of the second set, Halep caught fire again, winning 12 of 13 points to go from 1-1 to 4-1. Both women held from there until Halep had the win.

Venus put up some heavy resistance in the final game, earning a break point that if converted would have gotten the match back on serve. Halep fought it off, then hit back-to-back winners—a backhand down the line, then an inside-out forehand up the line—to clinch victory after an hour and 21 minutes.

“I know Venus doesn’t give up, and that I have to be there for every ball when I play against her,” Halep said in her on-court interview. “I knew that I would have to fight and run a lot today, and I think I did that pretty well. I also knew that I would have to stay close to the baseline and play faster.

“It’s always a pleasure to play with the Williams sisters and I’m proud to win again today.”

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In Miami, Halep posts fourth consecutive straight-sets win over Venus

In Miami, Halep posts fourth consecutive straight-sets win over Venus

Halep has now beaten Venus four times in a row, all in straight sets, and none of those sets have been closer than 6-3.

The Romanian finished Monday’s match with five more winners than unforced errors (21 to 16) while an error-prone Venus finished with a minus-8 differential of winners to unforced errors (16 to 24).

With the win, Halep moves through to the quarterfinals of the Miami Open for the fourth time in her career, having previously made the semifinals in 2015 (falling to Serena Williams), the quarterfinals in 2016 (falling to Timea Bacsinszky) and the quarterfinals again in 2017 (falling to Johanna Konta). She fell in the third round of the Premier Mandatory event last year (to Agnieszka Radwanska).

The world No. 3 also has a shot at reclaiming the No. 1 ranking, which she'll accomplish if she reaches the final and world No. 2 Petra Kvitova doesn’t reach the final. If they both reach the final, the champion will become No. 1.

Awaiting Halep in the quarterfinals will be No. 18 seed Wang Qiang, who won a tight two-setter against fellow Chinese Wang Yafan, 7-5, 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals of a Premier Mandatory event for the second time in her career (she was a semifinalist at the China Open in Beijing last year).

Halep beat Wang in their only previous meeting in the fourth round of Indian Wells last year, 7-5, 6-1.

In Miami, Halep posts fourth consecutive straight-sets win over Venus

In Miami, Halep posts fourth consecutive straight-sets win over Venus