Li Na (CHN #2) vs.  Sara Errani (ITA #11)
Head-to-head: Li leads 6-0
In the last round, Li Na took on and overcame Samantha Stosur, a player she had never beaten in six previous encounters. Now the boot is on the other foot as she takes on the last Italian standing in the draw, Sara Errani.
Since taking the opening set of their 2008 encounter at the US Open, Errani has lost 12 straight sets to Li, winning more than two games in just three of them. Halting this run will be no easy feat; Li has made a seamless transition to the clay and was particularly impressive during her quick-fire win over Stosur.
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #13) vs.  Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP #14)
Head-to-head: Ivanovic leads 1-0
Carla Suárez Navarro may have advanced to the quarterfinals courtesy of a walkover, but few can claim she has not earned her place there. No player has won more matches in 2014 than the Spaniard, who registered number 30 against Venus Williams in the second round and is now on the verge of a maiden Premier semifinal.
Standing in her way, though, is Ana Ivanovic, who is showing signs of returning to the sort of form that saw her sweep all before her in 2008. The latest indicator came on Thursday when she conjured up a wonderful performance - and a little luck - to end Maria Sharapova's 12-match winning run.
 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3) vs.  Jelena Jankovic (SRB #8)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads 5-1
Rome has not traditionally been the happiest of hunting grounds for Agnieszka Radwanska, whose past four visits had brought her just one win. While progress has been smooth enough this time around, that may well change on Friday afternoon when she takes on one of the game's other standout counterpunchers, Jelena Jankovic.
Radwanska prepared for their encounter by outmaneuvering a rejuvenated Francesca Schiavone, while Jankovic brushed aside Flavia Pennetta. Jankovic has lost her past five meetings with the Pole, the most recent of these an entertaining three-setter in Indian Wells in March.
Also on court...
Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams takes on Zhang Shuai in the first match of the evening session on Centrale, while in the doubles Errani and partner Roberta Vinci are among those in action.