Friday, 17 May 2013

WTA Rome Semi-Final Predictions: S.Williams-Halep, Azarenka-Errani

1. Serena Williams v Simona Halep
Serena Williams
I thought Serena Williams may pull out somewhere along the line in Rome, but she has been in sensational form all week and dismissed Carla Suarez Navarro in today's quarter-final for the loss of two games.  In total, Serena has lost just 7 games in her first 3 matches so the task is certainly a tough one for Simona Halep.  There have been a number of surprise runs this year; Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Stuttgart and Stefanie Voegele at Charleston spring to mind, but neither quite match Halep's run in Rome, which has included wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Aga Radwanska, Roberta Vinci and today, Jelena Jankovic in a beast of a quarter-final, saving two match points to triumph, 4-6 6-0 7-5.

Halep has always been a very useful player on clay, but she has barely been relevant in 2013 with just one tournament before Rome where she had posted more than one win.  I think the Romanian will be knackered for tomorrow's match and it will unfortunately be a walk in the park for Serena...

Prediction - Serena to beat Halep in 2 sets

2. Victoria Azarenka v Sara Errani
Maria Sharapova's exit from the Italian Open due to illness was quite a surprise as Sara Errani completed back-to-back semi-finals in Madrid and Rome.  The Italian, who also benefitted from a retirement by Maria Kirilenko yesterday, will move up to number 5 in next week's WTA rankings and will remain a significant threat at Roland Garros.  Errani has not played a full match since Wednesday and a semi-final showdown with Victoria Azarenka is going to be a big step up.  The Belarusian won a keenly contested quarter-final against Sam Stosur, 6-4 1-6 6-3.  Stosur had her chances, but was unable to convert; however she has had a good week with four wins and will be a dark horse at Roland Garros with a good draw.  Azarenka beat Errani earlier this year in Doha and has lost no more than 4 games to the Italian in their last 4 matches.  I think this will be significantly tighter, but I still think that Vika will come through...

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Errani in 2 very tight sets

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