Tennis: Serena Overpowers Peer; Comes Back to Beat Henin

Peer loses 7-6, 6-1 as she fails in bid to reach finals of a major tournament for the first time.

Serena Williams' name just seemed to be written on the trophy at the Miami Open this year and neither Shahar Peer nor Justin Henin was capable of stopping fate from seeing out its path.

Peer managed to stretch Williams in the first set of their semifinal encounter Friday, but in the end lost 7-6, 6-1 as she failed in her bid to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time.

"I had a great two weeks in Miami. I enjoyed the support of the crowd and the fantastic atmosphere and I will continue working hard to improve," said Peer, who is expected to advance to No. 15 in the world rankings.

In the final Williams survived a dismal start and erased two championship points in the second set yesterday to beat top-ranked Justine Henin 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 to win the title for a fourth time.

The comeback was nothing new for Williams, who revived her career by winning the Australian Open in January for her eighth Grand Slam title.

Once ranked No. 1, she fell to 140th last July because of long layoffs but will climb back to 11th next week.

The match was 39 minutes old before Williams won a game, and Henin was twice one point from the title serving at 5-4 in the second set. Williams saved both points, including one where her return clipped the net cord, keeping her in the match by perhaps an inch.

Henin slipped and took an awkward tumble during that game, skinning her left knee, and lost the next six points. She fell again trailing 3-0 in the final set and remained seated on the concrete for nearly a minute, as if debating whether to concede.

The feisty Belgian rose and rallied for 3-all before Williams began one final surge. She converted her first championship point, curling in a 77-mph kick serve that handcuffed Henin, giving Williams her fourth Key Biscayne title.

Playing in only her seventh tournament in the past 18 months - and her first since Melbourne - Williams improved to 41-5 in the event and 15-1 this year.