A forgiving net cord saved Serena Williams and she made the most of the lucky bounce.
One point from losing the final at the Sony Ericsson Open, Williams hit a return that grazed the top of the net and skipped across to keep her chances alive. She won the ensuing rally, and more than an hour later she won her fourth Key Biscayne title.
Williams survived a dismal start and erased two match points in the second set Saturday to beat Justine Henin, 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.
"When I get down, a part of me just plays better," Williams said. "I think all champions have that."
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 be 11th next week.
The match was 39 minutes old before Williams won a game, and she was twice one point from defeat with Henin serving at 5-4 in the second set.
"I said, 'I don't want to lose this fast. At least let it last an hour,'" Williams said.
With Henin serving at 40-15, Williams saved the first championship point with an overhead winner after skipping her return off the net. She reached deuce by hitting a strong forehand to force an errant backhand by Henin.
Two points later, Henin slipped and took an awkward tumble, skinning her left knee, and she lost the next six points. She fell again trailing 3-0 in the final set and remained seated for nearly a minute.
The feisty Henin rose and rallied for 3-all, before Williams began one final surge.
"She's a fighter," Henin said. "It's tough to close the matches against her, because she goes for it. She's a champion, and that makes a difference from the other players, for sure."
Playing in only her seventh tournament in the past 18 months - and her first since Melbourne - Williams improved to 15-1 this year and 41-5 at Key Biscayne, the AP reports.
Although Williams is ranked 18th, the final featured the WTA Tour's two hottest players with both women coming into the showdown having lost just one match this season.
Henin arrived at the championship contest riding a 13-match unbeaten streak including back-to-back titles in Dubai and Doha while Williams, playing her first event since lifting her eighth grand slam title at the Australian Open, brought a 12-match unbeaten run onto Stadium court.
Ranked 95 at the start of the year, Williams will move up to number 11 on Monday.
But to many who witnessed her performances in Melbourne and Miami, the 25-year-old American has already embarked on another reign as the top player in women's tennis having won the two biggest titles of the year so far.
On the way to her 28th career title, Williams dropped just one set recording wins over world number one Henin and Maria Sharapova, who held the top spot before surrendering it to the Belgian last week, Reuters reports.
"I can only go up. I have no points to defend until Cincinnati, I have nothing lose," said Williams, who will start her clay-court preparations in two weeks at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston.
"I'm playing with a no lose attitude and it's fun. I'm not going to stop here."
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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