Friday’s Set Points, WTA Rome: Halep vs. Sharapova & Svitolina vs. Kontaveit in the SFs

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.

Lucie!

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.

Strasbourg draw

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.

Saturday’s OOP

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 🌞.

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11 thoughts on “Friday’s Set Points, WTA Rome: Halep vs. Sharapova & Svitolina vs. Kontaveit in the SFs

  1. Best match of today was undoubtedly between Djokovic and Nishikori- what a GREAT match! Novak really dug in deep and fought his hardest since 2016, coming from a set done and losing his break advantage in the decider.

    I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t a Halep v Svitolina final on the women’s side, both women looked superb today, particularly Elina. Both have tough tests ahead but I think they will come through.

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  2. Sharapova vs Halep
    2014 French Open Finals repeat on beaten earth
    “It’s deja vu all over again”

    Picking Halep

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  3. Sharapova – Ostapenko was drama. Definitely worth to watch it.
    For me, it was very enjoyable to watch. I like Ostapenko for her persistence to go big on her shots. And whether you like her or not, Sharapova’s determination and tenacity is always sensible.

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  4. I was obliged to watch the Sharapova – Ostapenko match, as I’m such a huge fan of Jelena. And I know it’s been done to death, but how anyone can watch Sharapova and not be angry about her ridiculously loud and long yells is beyond me. It is so unnecessary. She’s a great player with amazing talents. If anyone doubts it’s unnecessary, listen when she hits the net, or if she knows her shot is going long – the yell is suddenly curtailed.

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    • Agreed. I do think her game is just a little one note though, also. It’s why she’s had such a poor record against Serena, because everything is one dimensional, she doesn’t try to do anything differently, ever.

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      • Here’s a video of Maria hitting with Rafa (apparently she was really nervous beforehand). Notice that she isn’t shrieking at all;

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      • Yes I saw this, thanks Graham. I’ve watched Sharapova practice before at Wimbledon and she was silent… whereas Azarenka does seem to grunt in practice.

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