ROME, Italy - Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci gave their home crowd a lot to cheer about Saturday, scoring a 61 63 win over co-World No.1s Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia doubles semifinals.
Coming into this week, Huber and Raymond and Errani and Vinci were tied for most doubles titles on the WTA this year with four - Huber and Raymond capturing Paris [Indoors], Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells, and Errani and Vinci winning Monterrey, Acapulco, Barcelona and just last week in Madrid.
As the two most decorated teams of the year clashed on Saturday it was the No.3-seeded Errani and Vinci who came out on top, and in emphatic fashion too, breaking the No.1-seeded Americans in five of their eight service games and holding seven of their eight for a routine one-hour, five-minute victory.
"Rome is always a special tournament for us," Errani said afterwards. "We played very well today and we're very happy to beat such a strong team. It was a very nice crowd of people today too - it was incredible playing for them."
"We've been playing very well this year," Vinci said. "Since January we've been playing a lot of matches, and match by match we're better and better."
Errani and Vinci will be going for their 10th WTA doubles title together. Their first eight all came at the International level, but their ninth came last week at the Premier-level tournament in Madrid, the first ever tournament on blue clay.
The Italians haven't lost a set to reach the final - but neither have their next opponents, unseeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who beat Jamie Hampton and Anna Tatishvili in their semifinal, 63 63.
Makarova has one WTA doubles title to her name and Vesnina has six, but they are trying for their first together. They did reach last week's Madrid final though, where they lost in a match tie-break to - coincidentally - Errani and Vinci.
"We just played them in the final of Madrid last week so we know them," Errani said of the Russians. "It will be a little different this time but we hope to make another good match. And we hope the crowd will be good again tomorrow."