Serena sails into semis

Serena Williams produced one of her most dominant displays of 2016 as she cruised into the semi-finals of the Italian Open. The world No.1 barely offered Svetlana Kuznetsova a chance in a performance of complete class, winning it 6-2 6-0 in just 51 minutes.

Afterwards she hailed the victory, one that sets up a meeting with Irina Begu on Saturday.

“On clay, for sure,” she said when asked if it was her best match of the year. “I think I played really well in Australia. I just didn’t come through. I didn’t win that one. But throughout the tournament I played well here. This is probably the best match I have played since then.

“It’s great. It makes me feel good. Svetlana’s probably one of the best clay-court players, and having to face her was a task and a challenge. We always have really tough matches, so I’m just really happy to get through that one.”

Serena admits she is pleased that Begu has emerged this year as she gets ready to meet the Romanian for the first time.

“She’s been doing really well for the past two, two-and-a-half years,” said Serena. “I have seen her play a lot. She plays a lot of big matches on courts against a lot of top players. She’s had a lot of big wins and had a lot of close losses. It’s been really refreshing and fun to watch her. I’m excited for it.”