Friday’s Set Points wraps up the quarter-finals of the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia. There’s recaps for the two matches that I got to see and summaries for the two that I was live scoring! Polls for Saturday’s semi-finals are linked below with thoughts about both matches up on the separate page. The best news of the day for me was about my fave! Read on for seven stories…
Svitolina d. Kerber (Rome, QF)
Elina Svitolina made it six straight wins over Angelique Kerber with a 6-4 6-4 triumph to keep the defence of her Rome title alive. I think there are only positives to take away from this week for Kerber who won three matches in a row on outdoor red clay for the first time since Nurnberg 2015. I saw snippets of the second set where I was pleased to see Kerber keep battling and putting the pressure back on Svitolina.
Kerber went to town on the Svitolina second serve in the second set, but Svitolina was serving at 82% of first serves in (!) and played a very confident final game to close out the win in straights.
While I was working…
Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko played out an absolute epic with Sharapova winning through to the semi-finals with a 6-7(6) 6-4 7-5 victory in three hours and 10 minutes! I was gutted to miss this one. I’m going to try and catch up with the match on Sunday. It’s been a huge week for Sharapova who is rather suddenly becoming a contender for the French Open.
Anett Kontaveit continued to shine with a 6-1 6-3 win over Caroline Wozniacki in just 75 minutes. I’m thrilled for Anett who suffered a pretty crushing loss to Wozniacki at Wimbledon last year. Since saving a match point against Kristina Mladenovic in Stuttgart, Kontaveit has gone on a tear, winning eight of her last ten matches including six top 20 wins. Kontaveit is looking fantastic on the clay and dare I say, a dark horse for the French.
Sharapova’s press conference
All 14 minutes of Sharapova’s press conference are linked below from the WTA’s Facebook page. Maria talked about her renewed partnership with Thomas Hogstedt.
Halep d. Garcia (Rome, QF)
The last match of the day did little to hold my attention. Simona Halep eased past an error-strewn, Caroline Garcia, 6-2 6-3. It was sad to see Garcia have such a shocker having played some quality tennis to reach the quarter-finals. Halep moved well and never really looked in danger, finishing the match with a magnificent slice down-the-line winner.
It’s been a rough time for my faves so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Lucie Safarova has a wild card for Strasbourg next week. I didn’t think there was much hope of Lucie playing the French Open so this is a positive sign.
And the Strasbourg draw is out with Lucie opening against a qualifier. Vikhlyantseva-Niculescu is the highlight of the first rounders for me with a possible Gavrilova-Stosur match in the second round.
Polls for the two semi-finals are linked below. Please note there will be no Set Points post on Saturday as i’ll be out all day 🌞.