2
0
1

Rome Saturday: Simona's Challenge

Simona Halep takes on Serena Williams and her 22-match winning streak, looking to become the first Romanian to reach the Rome final since Virginia Ruzici in 1981.

Published May 17, 2013 12:00

Rome Saturday: Simona's Challenge
Simona Halep

ROME, Italy - Serena Williams faces the week's surprise package, Simona Halep, as she looks to return to the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia for the first time since 2002, while Sara Errani flies the home flag in the other semifinal against Victoria Azarenka.

Watch live action from Rome on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

Saturday, Semifinals

Centrale
[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. [Q] Simona Halep (ROU #64)
Head-to-head:
Williams leads 1-0
It has been a week of firsts for Simona Halep. On Tuesday she scored her first win over a Top 5 player (Agnieszka Radwanska), on Friday she reached her first Premier Mandatory semifinal and on Saturday she will bid to become the first qualifier to reach the final at the Foro Italico. Standing in between her and that last achievement is a certain Serena Williams.

After some erratic performances en route to the title in Madrid last week, Williams has been playing timeless tennis in the eternal city, dispatching the talented trio of Laura Robson, Dominika Cibulkova and Carla Suárez Navarro for the loss of just seven games.

Halep, on the other hand, has taken more than nine hours to make her journey from qualifying to the last four, including saving two match points in her rollercoaster encounter against former champion Jelena Jankovic. In getting this far, the Romanian has showed brains, bravery and a little brawn and she will need all of that and then some to derail the Williams juggernaut.

[3] Victoria Azarenka (BLR #3) vs. [7] Sara Errani (ITA #6)
Head-to-head:
Azarenka leads 5-1
On Saturday afternoon, Sara Errani will bid to become the first Italian since Rafaella Reggi 28 years ago to reach the Rome final. If she is to do that, though, she will need to score her first ever Top 5 victory. And the ominous statistics do not end there; Errani's semifinal foe, Victoria Azarenka, has won five of their six career meetings, with the last four all coming in straight sets.

Yet despite all the numbers pointing to an Azarenka win, the intangibles favor the Italian; the raucous crowd at the Foro Italico will be heavily behind their compatriot, who goes into the contest as the more match tight of the two, having played more than three times as many clay court matches as Azarenka in 2013.

Stylistically, the World No.3 is likely to play the part of the aggressor, with the indefatigable Errani settling into her usual role of counterpuncher. Past encounters suggest Errani will need a fast start to help convince herself, Azarenka and the Court Centrale faithful that the upset is possible.

Share this page!

Related news

  • Insider Podcast: German Glory

    April 29, 2016
    WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | Emerging from a pack of talented German women, Angelique Kerber and Laura Siegemund give their thoughts on, clay, mental strength, and the Olympics.
  • 100 Days to Rio: The Race Heats Up

    April 27, 2016
    WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | With the Rio Olympic Games set to begin in 100 days, the qualification race is heating up. Here are the stories we're keeping an eye on.
  • RTS Update: Clay Court Gains

    April 26, 2016
    Angelique Kerber's victory on home soil over the weekend consolidated her place atop the Road To Singapore leaderboard, but who is best placed to topple her heading into the Premier events in Madrid and Rome.
To The Top
3