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WTA Saturday – as it happened

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1509: That’s the match for Maria. She raises her arms aloft. A 6-3, 6-4 win has taken her into the final against Li Na. Not always pretty but Sharapova deserved the win, her serving impressing especially in the second set. Probably a match too far for Kerber but she can be pleased with her efforts this week, a few days that has taken her into the world’s top ten. We should hear plenty more about her if she can consistently produce those angled forehand winners. So we have the final line-up. If you’re not joining us for the men’s action, see you tomorrow for the final.

1500: Kerber holds her serve just about but Maria’s own serving is firing and there is no way past the Russian. 5-3 and Kerber will serve to stay in the match.

1453: Sharapova holds, with an ace along the way, to lead 4-2. Two games from the final.

1448: Best game of the match so far. At last both players are producing some good tennis. Sharapova in the end breaks again for a 3-2 lead but only after some lengthy rallies.

1443: Much more like it from Kerber. After holding, she starts to handle the Sharapova serve. Shazza saves three break points but not a fourth and we’re back to 2-2.

1431: Early break for Sharapova in the second set too. She wants to end this quickly. A good service game for the Russian and it’s 2-0. Kerber does not appear to be enjoying this.

1421: First set to Maria, 6-3. She serves out to 15 with Kerber long on set point. Sharapova’s serving appeared to be OK as the set wore on and Kerber has plenty of work to do if she’s to get back into this match.

1418: 5-3 Sharapova right now. Both players seem to be struggling for form, particularly Kerber who, of course, had such a tough, long match last night against Kvitova.

1410: A break for Sharapova in the sixth game to lead 4-2. The tennis remains at less than perfect so far, too many unforced errors from both players.

1401: Breaks aplenty at the moment. Sharapova had the early 2-0 lead but back comes Kerber to recover to 2-2. Both players yet to play their best tennis so far.

1345: At last we have some tennis and Shazza is able to hold serve despite a slow start where Kerber had a break point. But the German fired wide when she had half the court to aim at and it’s 1-0 to the defending champ.

1304: Welcome to semi-finals day at Foro Italico. Unfortunately Serena Williams pulled out of her match with Na Li with a back injury so our first match today will start at 1.30pm local time. That will be Maria Sharapova against Angelique Kerber. Sharapova of course beat Venus Williams yesterday while Kerber made her first Rome semi with a win against Petra Kvitova. The German will be in the top ten when the new rankings are released on Monday. The pair have met twice, both this year, with Sharapova winning in the Australian Open and Kerber winning in Paris. I’m predicting Sharapova in three. Tweet me your predictions and feedback @ianbakersport.

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