At the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Romanian world No.64 Simona Halep is scoring huge victories one after the other and she’s s now through to the biggest semifinal of her career where the concrete wall of Serena Williams is likely to end her dream run. However, we have to mention that their last and only meeting of two years ago, even though on grass, was a tough three-setter, won by Williams 3-6 6-2 6-1.
After going through qualifying and beating former world No.5 Daniela Hantuchova to enter the main draw, Halep dispatched two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round, fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the second, seed No.13 Roberta Vinci in the third and today she triumphed over former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic after coming from the brink of defeat in the third set, always catching up with Jankovic’s leads, and saving two match points to eventually win 4-6 6-0 7-5. Halep’s semifinal opponent, reigning No.1 Serena, eased past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-0 and recorded the best winning streak of her career with 22 successive matches.
As for the other semifinal, seventh seed Sara Errani received a walkover when two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova withdrew with a viral illness. Still, she stayed at the tournament long enough to have the opportunity to wish her recently-publicly-confirmed boyfriend a happy 21st birthday (it was after her Thursday’s third-round win over Sloane Stephens). Errani’s semifinal obstacle will be third seed Victoria Azarenka, who defeated ninth Samantha Stosur 6-4 1-6 6-3 in the last quarterfinal. (photos by Francesca Moscatelli, Beyond the Baseline)