Errani Ends Wait In Rome

Sara Errani defeated Jelena Jankovic on Saturday to become the first Italian to reach the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in nearly 30 years.

Published May 17, 2014 12:13


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ROME, Italy - Sara Errani ended Italy's 29-year wait for a finalist at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a straight set victory over No.6 seed Jelena Jankovic on Saturday.

The Plot
Since its inaugural staging in 1930, Rome has been an integral event in the tennis calendar. Recently, though, the home nation has been starved of success, with no player reaching the final since Raffaella Reggi, in 1985. In that time, there have been some near misses, most recently, 12 months ago when current Italian No.1 Errani made the semifinals.

The Turning Point
On Friday, Errani produced one of the performances of her career to upset Li Na, and she carried this form into the early stages of her semifinal, marrying her usual unerring consistency with some wonderfully deft touches to reel off four straight games.

Jankovic could find no answer to her opponent's brilliance, cutting a disconsolate figure towards the end of the opening set. Despite her frustrations, the Serb started the second with an increased intensity, and in the fifth game a nerveless overhead and a brilliant down-the-line backhand rewarded her with a break.

However, this setback only succeeded in strengthening the resolve of the Italian, whose break in the next game was greeted with a deafening roar of approval from a packed Centrale crowd. An even louder one was to follow as Errani survived a late wobble to close out a 6-3, 7-5 victory after just under two hours on court.

By The Numbers
While Errani's clay court mastery was beguiling at times, as usual it was her consistency that underpinned her success. In the end, she committed 11 unforced errors, with four of these coming in her remarkably miserly second set display.

"I just tried to keep focused on my game and what I had to do," Errani said. "The motivation was the crowd. They were unbelievable and I have no words to say what it is like to play on this court with this support. Amazing!"

What's Next
Errani will face the winner from the day's second semifinal, between top seed and defending champion Serena Williams and the in-form Ana Ivanovic.

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