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{blackbabes} Venus Williams beats No. 1 Kerber in Miami Open quarters

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Venus Williams whacked a winner on her fifth match point, then spun and threw a celebratory fist toward her father, who watched from the front row while munching popcorn.

The taste of victory never gets old.

Venus and her dad have been coming together to Key Biscayne for 20 years, and she moved a step closer to her first title in the event since 2001 by beating top-ranked Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday night in the Miami Open quarterfinals.

It was Williams' 15th career win against a No. 1 player, but her first since 2014.

Four-time Key Biscayne runner-up Rafael Nadal advanced to the men's semifinals by beating American Jack Sock 6-2, 6-3. Nadal's opponent Friday will be Fabio Fognini, who became the first unseeded player in 10 years to reach the men's semis at Key Biscayne when he beat 2016 runner-up Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2.

The tournament was once known as the Williams Open because of the way Venus and Serena dominated. Now Venus, seeded 11th and 36 years old, is in the semifinals for the first time in seven years.

Her younger sister, an eight-time Key Biscayne champion, is out with a knee injury. But their father and coach, Richard, is attending a tournament for the first time in nearly a year after battling health issues.

He watched the quarterfinal in the photo pit along the baseline.

"My dad is one of the loves of my life and the reason I'm here in this game," Venus told the fans, who responded with cheers.

Later she added, "He has always loved popcorn. We always ate popcorn together when I was a child. That's a great childhood memory."

Venus' opponent Thursday night will be No. 10 Johanna Konta, who became the first British woman to reach a semifinal at Key Biscayne by beating No. 3 Simona Halep 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2.

"She's living the dream," Williams said. "I've got a dream too."

No. 2 Karolina Pliskova will play No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki in the other semifinal.

Williams has enjoyed a resurgence this year, reaching the Australian Open final before losing to her sister. She took charge against Kerber when the German double-faulted on the final two points of the opening set, and broke serve twice more early in the second set to pull away.

Kerber saved four match points before Williams closed out the victory with a backhand winner.

It was a matchup of offence against defence, with Williams the more aggressive player, charging the net often.

"Sometimes I didn't quite get it over that line, but I kept going for it," Williams said. "I was aggressive, and that's when I play my best."

Kerber stayed rooted to the baseline and was on the defensive even when she served, facing 13 break points and losing serve five times.

She'll remain No. 1 next week despite her loss. She reclaimed the top ranking this month after Indian Wells, replacing the sidelined Serena Williams.

Venus improved to 61-13 at Key Biscayne, where she made her debut in 1997 and won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2001. She lives 90 minutes north in Palm Beach Garden and considers the tournament her hometown event.

She was the oldest woman to enter the draw but hasn't been taxed physically, winning every set in her four matches.

Nadal is playing Key Biscayne for the 13th time, making it his longest title drought at any tournament. He committed only 12 unforced errors against the No. 13-seeded Sock, rallied from a break down in the second set and improved his lifetime record against Americans to 60-9.

Fognini, 29, matched his best showing in an ATP Masters 1000 event. By beating the No. 2-seeded Nishikori, Fognini improved to 9-44 against top-10 players, and he became the first Italian man to reach a semifinal at Key Biscayne.

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{blackbabes} Grey's Anatomy's Kelly McCreary: 'Visionary' Ellen Pompeo's Debut as a Director Likely to Leave You 'Wrecked'

greys anatomy kelly mccreary interview season 13

Nothing would please Kelly McCreary more than if we didn't need a tissue watching Thursday's Grey's Anatomy, we needed the whole box. "I hope you'll be really wrecked," admits the actress, who plays Maggie, the Grey Sloan doctor struggling with her adoptive mother's dire prognosis. "No matter what a person's relationship is like with their parents, I hope that people will feel Maggie's journey deeply and empathize."

After learning just how serious Diane's condition is in "Till I Hear It From You," Maggie goes into "Be Still, My Soul" (ABC, 9/8c) weighed down by a mess of emotions. "She's terrified, she has a lot of regret about how she treated her mother [before she knew the truth], and there are some feelings of betrayal [since] she was left out of the loop," says McCreary. But "at heart, Maggie is an optimist, so she believes that she and her team can make her mother well again."

Which puts her on a collision course with half sister Meredith. "Maggie can not hear it when Meredith tells her that what she wants to work won't work," previews McCreary. "So she takes it out on Meredith. A part of what's really sad to watch [in the unfolding drama] is how the reality and seriousness of this situation is apparent to everyone except Maggie. Because of the rose-colored glasses that she wears and a certain amount of denial that she's in, she really can't hear it."

On screen, there for Maggie is pretty much all of Grey Sloan — including crush Nathan. However, the embrace between them that's been teased by the network's promos "has less to do with her affection for him," notes McCreary, "than it has to do with him helping somebody in need."


Off screen, there for McCreary and the cast was first-time director Ellen Pompeo, aka Mer. "It felt natural" having her at the helm, says McCreary, adding that "she had a way of teasing out extra layers of emotion in not just the way that she was able to communicate with us actors. She also had really great ideas visually for how to enhance the storytelling in these spaces that we're so used to seeing already — the hospital room, the house — or to add symbolism by shooting from overhead or wanting the scenes to be lit in a certain way. She was kind of a visionary!"

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