Friday, May 16, 2014

2014 ROME: Semifinals Set: Rafa-Dimitrov, Nole-Raonic; Serena-Ivanovic, Errani-Jankovic

The semifinals of the last big clay court warm-up tournament (in Rome) before the clay court major in Paris starts on May 25th are set.

On the men's side Rafael Nadal outlasted Andy Murray despite losing the first 5 games of the match, by winning the last three games of the match 1-6 6-3 7-5 to reach the semifinals. Nadal will face Grigor Dimitrov. On the other half of the draw Milos Raonic will try to prevent the seemingly inevitable Nadal-Novak Djokovic final. Djokovic took 3-sets to dismiss David Ferrer 7-5 4-6 6-3.
Nadal has not looked fresh and has been coming through some tough 3-set matches, including a 3-hour-18-minute slugfest against Gilles Simon a few rounds ago and another 3-setter against Mikhail Youzhny.  How will the World #1 do against a ready and rested youngster like Dimitrov, who just turned 23 this week? MadProfessah's prediction: Djokovic-Nadal final.

On the women's side, Serena Williams is showing that she is playing her way into form on her way to try to defend her 2013 French Open title. She will face Ana Ivanovic, who handed Serena her most stinging defeat of the year at the 2014 Australian Open for a much anticipated rematch. Ivanovic has already beaten the second best clay-court player on tour in Maria Sharapova in this tournament, snapping a 7-year losing streak to Masha. 2-time Rome champion Jelena Jankovic will face Sara Errani, the hometown favorite who eliminated World #2 Li Na, using the crowd support to earn a rare win over a Top 10 opponent and her very first over someone from the Top 3 (in 21 tries!) There's a chance of an all-Serbian final, but instead I suspect it will be a Jankovic-Serena final on Sunday. Madprofessah prediction: Serena-Jankovic.

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