The Big Two to Clash for Men’s Title at Rome Masters, Sharapova Takes on Carla Navarro for Women’s and Sania/Hingis Reach Fourth Final Together
For the 39th time in their careers, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet one another across the net on a tennis court with the winner taking the men’s crown in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia or the Italian Open. Federer defeated compatriot Wawrinka in the semifinal while Djokovic overpowered Spain’s David Ferrer. Federer has never won Rome Masters in his long career while Djokovic will look for his fourth title on Sunday. In women’s semifinal, Russia’s Maria Sharapova worked hard before overcoming a challenge from compatriot Daria Gavrilova. For women’s crown, the double-Rome champion will face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, who stunned Romania’s Simona Halep in the other semifinal. India’s Sania Mirza also made it to the final in women’s doubles with her Swiss partner Martina Hingis, when the Indo-Swiss pair defeated the French/Slovenian combo of Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik. Sania/Hingis will take on Hungarian Timea Babos/Frenchwomen Mladenovic in the final. In men’s doubles final, Uruguayan/Spanish pair of Pablo Cuevas and David Marrero will fight with Spaniards Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez.
In the last big tournament before Roland Garros, world no.1 Novak Djokovic will meet world no.2 Roger Federer. Irrespective of the result, it will be another time that one of the Big-Fours gets away as winner of a premier ATP event. Federer reached the final by overcoming an early scare from compatriot Stan Wawrinka, who nearly replicated his quarterfinal performance against Rafael Nadal as he raced away to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Then out of the blue, Federer went into an overdrive by reeling off six out of the next seven games and took set 6-4. In the second set, Federer did not relinquish control and yielded just six points to grab a 5-1 lead. Afterwards, it was just a matter of time before he won the match 6-4, 6-2 to set up the clash with top seeded Djokovic. The two tennis giants of the Open Era will meet each other for the 39th time on Sunday. Only the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry of 43 matches exceeds that count.
On his part, Djokovic defeated 7th seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 in the other semifinal. The Serb produced 26 winners and but also committed 24 unforced errors to win against the plucky Ferrer. It was the 9th straight win for Djokovic against Ferrer. The two players kept exchanging shots from the back-court and it was a question of who would commit an error. In the third game of the first set, Ferrer failed to dig himself out of difficulties and the Serb converted on his second break point to take the lead. Ferrer earned a break point with Djokovic serving at 5-4 and 30-40 in the tenth game but Djokovic held his nerves to take the first set 6-4 in 45 minutes. In the second set, Ferrer was down 15-40 but recovered to win his service and then took away six straight points before Djokovic could find his game back. With perfectly executed groundstrokes, he brought the scores level at 4-4 and then broke Ferrer’s service once more before holding his own. The 6-4, 6-4 win allowed Djokovic to reach his 34th ATP 1000 final and extend his winning streak to 21 matches since he lost to Federer in Dubai Duty-free tennis tournament in February.
In women’s semifinal, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain defeated Romania’s Simona Halep 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the final but not before she came close to losing in the 10th game of the final set. The Spaniard, however, held her poise and took the decider 7-5 against the fighting Romanian. Navarro’s opponent in the final will be Russia’s Maria Sharapova, who survived a tough first-set challenge from another Russian star Daria Gavrilova. Sharapova needed to bring her best game out against Gavrilova, who took medical help in the 11th game of the first set. When she came out, her game had lost the edge. But the Russian youngster still managed to take a 3-1 lead in the second set before Sharapova regained her composure. The no.2 seed settled the match with powerful strokes and made it to another Rome Masters final.
In women’s doubles, Sania Mirza/Martina Hingis reached the final by scoring an impressive 6-2, 7-6 victory over Caroline Garcia/Katarina Srebotnik in the semifinal. For their fourth victory as a team Mirza/Hingis will have to defeat meet Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic, who entered the final by overcoming Alla Kudryavtseva/ Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-4. After playing 20 matches as a team, Mirza/Hingis have a 90% winning record by winning 18 matches.
In men’s doubles, Pablo Cuevas/David Marrero entered the final with a convincing 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kevin Anderson and Jeremy Chardy and for claiming the title they will play against Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez, who prevailed over Nick Kyrgios/Jack Sock 6-1, 3-6, 11-9.
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