Just two months removed from their previous encounter on the professional tour, fellow Russians Maria Sharapova and Daria Gavrilova will once again meet on the tour, this time to determine who will advance to the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. This is just their second meeting on the WTA tour and will be a contest that Sharapova will have particular interest in as she attempts to avenge her upset loss at Indian Wells. Gavrilova, who heads the head-to-head series 1-0, will look to prove that her first win against the Russian No. 1 was not a fluke.
In one of the more anticipated match-ups of the enthralling Friday of tennis in Rome, Maria Sharapova outlasted longtime adversary Victoria Azarenka to reach the semi-final round of the Premier-level event. While the series ad always been close between the two (7-7 h2h before the latest match) Sharapova proved to be the better performer on clay and has now won their last four consecutive meetings on that surface.
Seeded third at the tournament this year, Sharapova needed only an hour and 32 minutes to defeat Azarenka in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. She will now go forward in an attempt to avenge her earlier loss to her fellow countrywoman.
Earlier in the day, Daria Gavriloa continued her impressive week on the tour with a win against American qualifier Christina McHale. She won 58% of her first service points and converted six break points to close out the match 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 39 minutes.
This is just the second time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Gavrilova leading the head-to-head series 1-0. Their sole meeting on the tour took place just two months ago when Gavrilova scored her first Top-10 win when she ousted Sharapova from Indian Wells. It will be interesting to see if she can replicate her efforts this week in Rome.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets