Saturday will see the men and women’s semifinals at the 2015 Rome Masters with two of the big fours in men’s tennis making it to the last four. First to make the grade was Roger Federer, who defeated Tomas Berdych but there were hard fought contests elsewhere. World no.1 Novak Djokovic dropped a set before overpowering Japanese Kei Nishikori to make it to the semifinal for the sixth time in his nine appearances. Eighth seeded Stan Wawrinka had a first set tussle with 7-time champion Rafael Nadal before cruising to the last four and set up a meeting with compatriot Roger Federer for the place in the final. Djokovic will meet Spain’s David Ferrer, who also had a three-set contest with David Goffin of Belgium. In the women’s draw Maria Sharapova beat Victoria Azarenka and for the place in the final she will have deal with her countrywoman Daria Gavrilova, who defeated American Christina McHale. Romania’s Simona Halep also reached the semifinal by defeating a qualifier from her own country; Alexandra Dulgheru. Halep will face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated no.4 seed Petra Kvitova. In the women’s quarterfinal, Indo-Swiss pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis reached the semifinal by defeating Germany’s Julia Goerges and Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa.
Roger Federer moved to the semifinal of the Rome Masters on Friday after defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3. Federer didn’t have a good start in the match as Berdych broke him early in the first set. But in a sudden surge of power play, the Swiss reeled off four straight points after being 2-3 down and closed the set. The second set went on serves until Federer broke Berdych in the seventh game and finished the match in 67 minutes with 15 winners. Federer will now meet his countryman Stan Wawrinka, who had a battle with clay-specialist Rafael Nadal. After a hard-fought first set was decided on tiebreak in Wawrinka’s favor, proceedings in the second set were easier for the eighth seeded Swiss. Finally, Wawrinka finished the match 7-6, 6-2 to another disappointment for Nadal in the 2015 season.
In the other quarterfinal, 7th seed David Ferrer had a difficult opponent in David Goffin of Belgium. Goffin had entered the quarterfinal after a walk-over against Andy Murray, who withdrew due to fatigue. Ferrer raced away to a 5-1 lead in the first set and after easily taking the first set, ran into problems in the second as Goffin raised his game before winning 6-4. In the decider, Ferrer kept his game on an upper keel and closed out as 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 winner after 2 hours and 9 minutes. In the semifinal, Ferrer will clash with defending champion Novak Djokovic, who also dropped a set in his quarterfinal match against Japanese Kei Nishikori before coming through 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. In the women’s field, Russia’s Maria Sharapova played dazzling tennis in outclassing longtime rival Belorussian Victoria Azarenka. Until this match the two stars had a 7-7 head-to-head count of victories. On Friday, however, Sharapova was just too powerful as she defeated Vika 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 32 minutes. Sharapova’s semifinal opponent is another Russian Daria Gavrilova, who came through after beating USA’s Christina McHale 6-2, 6-4. In the other women’s semifinal, Romania’s no.2 seed Simona Halep will take on Spain’s Carla Suraez Navarro. While Halep defeated Romanian qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 6-0, Suarez Navarro was brilliant in outplaying no.4 seed Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2.
After a dream start as a team, in which they won their first three tournaments, top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza lost at Stuttgart and Madrid. At Rome Masters, however, they have reached the semifinal albeit with a tough match against the German-Spanish combo of Julia Goerges/Silvia Soler-Espinosa. They had a tight first set but they wrested control in the second and closed out the match 6-4, 6-3. For a place in the final Hingis/Mirza will have to defeat no.4 seeds Caroline Garcia/Katarina srebotnik, who reached the semifinal with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Gabriela Dabrowski/Alicja Rosolska.
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