MIAMI : Australian Open champion Serena Williams ousted Shahar Peer in straight sets here Thursday to book a clash with world number one Justine Henin in the final of the US$6.9 million Sony Ericsson Open.
Williams, seeded 13th, downed Israel's 14th-seeded Peer 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 in a rematch of their epic quarter-final clash in Melbourne in January, when Williams triumphed en route to her surprise Aussie Open championship.
Henin, seeded second here, had already advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over ninth-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze.
The Belgian, who took over the world number one ranking earlier this week, improved to 15-1 in 2007.
She will be meeting Williams for the first time since the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2003, when the American posted a straight-set victory.
"It's a long time we didn't play each other," Henin said. "She looks like she's healthy now - that's the biggest difference - and very focused on her tennis."
Williams is 14-1 this season, displaying a renewed commitment to the sport after over a year of injuries and distractions.
Playing in her first event since winning the Australian Open, she clearly has not missed a beat, posting straight-sets victories in each of her first four matches.
"I wasn't really surprised the way she came back in Australia," Henin said.
"When she's healthy and really focused, she's a great champion. She has nothing to prove to anyone. She did it in the past."
En route to the final here, Williams dismantled top-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova and eighth-seeded Czech Nicole Vaidisova.
The American will try to solve Henin, the defending French Open champion who also reached the final in the other three Grand Slams last year.
"No one really writes about her getting the four Grand Slam finals, and that's an incredible feat," Williams said. "I think she was the Player of the Year last year. She had a Grand Slam, and four finals is not easy on four different surfaces."
"We will see what's going to happen," said Henin, who has won 13 straight matches and two two tournaments since a semi-final loss to Lucie Safarova in Paris. "It's certainly a long time ago. We had a couple of good fights in the past."
Against Chakvetadze, Henin had five aces and five service breaks, closing out her foe in 71 minutes.
"I had the solution to every ball she was hitting today, and I used my slice a lot," Henin said. "I could change the rhythm. I was running a lot and I was moving well."
In the depleted men's draw, unseeded Argentinian giant-killer Guillermo Canas continued his run, upsetting sixth seed Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
Canas rocked the tennis world for the second time in less than three weeks Tuesday, holding on for a thrilling 7-6 (7/2), 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory over top-seeded Roger Federer in the fourth round.
On March 11, Canas upset Federer in straight sets in the second round at Indian Wells, ending the Swiss superstar's 41-match winning streak.
Canas will face seventh seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, who defeated Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 6-3, 7-5.
"I think I played Canas once, here, seven years ago, maybe," Ljubicic said. "It was a long time ago.
"But that match doesn't mean anything. I saw him with Roger the other day - he is rock solid on the baseline. His short swings, he's not missing anything. You give him a short ball, he can go for it."
Second-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain and third-seeded American Andy Roddick also failed to make out of the quarter-finals.
Nadal lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic, hours after Roddick retired from his quarter-final match against Andy Murray with an apparent hamstring injury.
Serbia's Djokovic and Scotland's Murray, both 19, will battle it out in the other men's semi-final on Friday.