KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Serena Williams retained the No. 1 world ranking by being the best player in her family Thursday night.
Williams defeated older sister Venus 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open. It was their 20th sibling showdown, and each has won 10 times.
Serena needed to reach the final to retain the top ranking she has held since Feb. 2.
“I’m excited,” Serena said. “I was thinking I’d love to remain No. 1. I think I was more happy about that than winning the match.”
If Venus had won, Serena would have been supplanted in next week’s rankings by No. 2 Dinara Safina.
“Even though she’s my sister, I’m still here to win,” Venus said. “I can’t give anyone anything. So I’m disappointed that I lost tonight, whether or not she kept the ranking.”
No. 1 Rafael Nadal lost in the men’s quarterfinals to 20-year-old Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3). The upset delighted a partisan crowd that included many transplants from Argentina.
“Wonderful for the crowd,” Nadal said. “Terrible for me.”
The No. 6-seeded del Potro’s opponent Friday will be No. 4 Andy Murray, who beat No. 8 Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-2.
Serena Williams will try for a record sixth Key Biscayne title Saturday against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
Coyotes win again at home
GLENDALE – Al Montoya’s making life in the NHL look easy.
Montoya made 31 saves in his second career start, and Scottie Upshall scored with 5:54 left to help the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Thursday night.
“To get a win at home, there’s nothing like it,” Montoya said. “I just want to keep making those saves and giving the team a chance to win every night.”
Montoya, the former Michigan star who shut out Colorado on Wednesday night in his NHL debut, has stopped 53 of 54 shots in his first two games.
“He made key saves when he needed to make key saves,” said coach Wayne Gretzky, who will start Montoya again Saturday in Los Angeles.
“We’ve had an overall solid defensive effort two games in a row when we didn’t give up a lot of opportunities.”
Ed Jovanovski added a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ fourth straight home win.