Carla Suarez Navarro and Maria Sharapova will face each other in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the third final of the season for both players.
In the first semifinal, Carla Suarez Navarro recorded her first victory over a world No.2 player and improved her WTA-leading record in this season’s match wins to 31 by stunning Simona Halep 2-6 6-3 7-5. The tenth-ranked Suarez Navarro initially trailed a set and a break before regrouping and forcing the third set which was a story of its own. All the way to 4-4 we had nothing but breaks! It was Halep who stopped the trend of dropped serves by holding for a 5-4 lead and got to being just two points away from victory. However, Suarez Navarro survived that big scare, won her service game despite Halep’s initial 30-0 lead, and then won the next two games to make the grand final of Rome and beat a second-ranked player for the first time in ten tries.
In the following all-Russian semifinal, Maria Sharapova avenged her Miami defeat to Daria Gavrilova with a tough but straight-set victory over the successful youngster who went this far at the tournament as a qualifier. The first set lasted more than an hour, as Gavrilova saved 7 of 8 break points she faced, while in the second set the rising star even had a 3-1 lead before Sharapova gave no more room to her much less experienced opponent and won 7-5 6-3. (photos: Jimmie48)