Magnificent Dinara Safina beat magnificent Venus Williams 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4 in a powerful battle of two hard-hitters and one of the best matches of the season, to reach the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The semifinal lasted three hours and nine minutes, and I believe that tells enough.
The fourth-seeded Williams won the first set after a one hour and 10 minutes long fight. Safina had come back from a break down to level at 5-5, but lost in the tiebreak (isn’t it horrible when a player recovers from a bad situation only to lose in a tiebreak?). Nevertheless, Safina took the match to the third set. The decider was full of breaks, with Williams always coming back from behind, but as I said, always coming back, Safina never kept the lead for long. Finally, at 5-4 Safina was serving for the match and after saving some break points, the Russian world No.1 finally converted her third match point to beat the American.
It’s a real joy to watch Safina play when she has consistency, and against a great opponent such as Venus Williams, there’s nothing more you can ask for.
In-form Svetlana Kuznetsova, who ended her title drought in Stuttgart last week, reached her second consecutive final by defeating sixth seed Victoria Azarenka 6-2 6-4 in the semifinals. The seventh-seeded Kuznetsova will be Safina’s opponent in an all-Russian final in Rome.
As for world No.5 Venus Williams, she will retake the No.3 ranking on May 11. She hasn't been ranked that high in six years. (photos: Tennis Channel)