The first match on centre court on Friday afternoon at the Internazionali BNL Italia in Rome was the quarter final between the American top seed Serena Williams and the very in form Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, world number 22. In the first set the American got to 5-2 with Suarez Navarro serving to stay in the set, with the Spaniard continuing to fight for every point – including an ace on second serve at advantage Williams – but it was in vain, as Williams broke again to take the set 6-2 in thirty five minutes. In the second set Suarez Navarro, a clay court specialist with a magnificent one handed backhand – a la Justin Henin – continued to fight hard, but Williams built up a 5-0 lead, again with the Spaniard serving to stay in the match. Williams broke once more to wrap up the set to love in just twenty minutes and book her place in the semi finals.
The second quarter final match was played between two unseeded players – the 18th ranked Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and the 64th ranked qualifier from Roumania, Simona Halep. The Roumanian conquered 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 13th seed Roberta Vinci in her run to the quarters, while Jankovic took out 5th seed Na Li. The first set was very close and the score got to 4-4 when Jankovic broke for 5-4 with her serve to come. After a very long game, she closed it out at 6-4. Halep started the second set and held, broke and continued this pattern to take the set to love. She also began the decider, but was broken and Jankovic built up a 3-0 lead before the Roumanian came back to level. They then broke each other’s games all the way to 5-5, with these games all going to multiple deuces and advantages on both sides of the net. Halep held for 6-5 and broke a final time to take this cliff hanger set 7-5 to set up a meeting with Serena Williams in the semis.