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WTA semi-finals – as it happened

This content was published 9 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

1623: We will back for Sunday’s final tomorrow which starts at 2pm. In the mean time join us for our coverage of the men’s semi-finals. Ciao! 1621: Azarenka wins it and once again her fine returning is the main reason. The Belarusian takes her third match point to claim a 6-0, 7-5 win in one hour and 34 minutes. An excellent second set. Azarenka will play Serena on Sunday. 1612: Important hold for Azarenka to make it 6-5. She takes a breather and the pressure is all back on Errani as she serves to stay in the match. 1606: But Azarenka breaks straight back to 15 and we are back to 5-5. 1602: Errani seizes the moment to claim the break and move to a 5-4 lead. She will serve for the second set to the home crowd’s delight. 1559: Errani overcomes some big booming returns from Azarenka to hold for 4-4. 1554: Azarenka has to work hard to hold and take a 4-3 lead. Errani looks a completely different player in the second set, maybe the first rain delay helped her. 1551: Probably Errani’s most convincing service game so far. She serves to love. 3-3. 1546: Errani breaks back to make it 3-2 Azarenka as the third seed double faults at break point. 1541: Longest game of the match and in the end Azarenka takes it for a break and lead of 3-1. Some simply stunning backhand returns from the Belarusian. 1532: It looks like it might just be a brief delay. Players back on their feet. 1529: We have another shower I am sorry to say. It is 30-30 on the Errani serve and the players have sat down. 1524: Errani won more points in the first two games of the second set than she did in the entire first. She has the wind between her sails to go to 15-30 on the Azarenka serve. But Vika comes through a difficult test for the 2-1 lead. 1520: At last Errani is on the board as she holds serve to love. 1-1. 1518: More like it from Errani who has the crowd on their feet with a beautiful drop shot. But she cannot break and Azarenka survives for a 1-0 lead in the second set. 1508: Azarenka breaks Errani again to love to bagel the set, 6-0. What a performance, it is absolutely no contest at the moment to the dismay of the home fans. 1505: Despite Errani winning the first point back, Azarenka wins the next two for 5-0. Errani to serve to stay in the set. 1503: Play can resume, Azarenka serving at 4-0, 30-15. 1456: Rain seems to have stopped and the players are back on court. 1450: The rain is very light now and my expert weather knowledge (!) tells me it should blow over very soon. 1434: We will have a little interruption. Rain. Players are sitting down. And they are now retreating to the locker room. 1431: 4-0. Azarenka breaks again. Errani saved two break points from 15-40 including a superb backhand down the line, but Vika comes back to win next two points. Just 16 minutes have been played. 1424: Simple start for Azarenka. 12-2 she leads on points, 3-0 on games. Errani is already speaking to her coach. 1422: Azarenka breaks to 15 to silence the crowd and take a 2-0 lead. Not the start Errani wanted as she bids to become the first Italian to reach a final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia since 1985. 1417: First game to Azarenka. Comfortably start as she holds to 15. 1412: Azarenka leads 5-1 on the head-to-head. She has won all three times the pair have met on clay and also won earlier this year in Doha. 1411: Azarenka and Errani are warming up. Errani had yesterday off due to Sharapova’s withdrawal. Azarenka played a late-night best-of-three. Will fitness play its part? 1320: I’m not quite sure who can beat Serena on this evidence. She will play Victoria Azarenka or Sara Errani who are up next in the second semi at 2pm. 1316: That is that. 6-3, 6-0 as Serena makes the final in style with a smash on match point. Her 23rd consecutive victory. Halep is cheered off the court and is still smiling but she was well beaten in that second set. 1311: It looks like Halep’s exertions have exhausted her. Serena is now 5-0 up in the second set and will serve for the match after just one hour. 1308: A more difficult game for Serena but she still holds on despite slipping on game point. 4-0. 1302: Make that 3-0 as Serena really enters her stride, claiming a second break. The end appears nigh for Halep. 1258: 2-0 Serena, another comfortable game on her serve. 1254: And now the perfect start to the second set for Williams as she breaks Halep to love. The American is in total control of the match. 1250: Serena recovers from 15-40 to win the next four points to wrap up the first set in 39 minutes, 6-3. 1244: Halep struggles to halt the Williams progress but comes through her service game to ensure Serena must serve it out herself at 5-3.  1239: Another dominant service game from Serena to take it to 5-2. She has lost just two points in four games. 1236: Classy stuff from Williams, she has responded in style to her early setback and now breaks Halep this time to 15 for a 4-2 lead. 1231: Two straight games without losing a point now for Serena. She leads 3-2 in the bright, warm sunshine here in Rome. 1228: That’s a champion’s response as Serena breaks back to love giving Halep the run around. 2-2. 1224: That will be a break – to Halep. Superb aggressive play from the qualifier helped by a Serena double fault and it is 2-1. 1223: If there are any nerves from Halep she is not showing them. Arguably the most convincing service game to the world No.1 this week as the Romanian holds to love 1-1. 1218: Serena comes through a difficult service game saving two break points to take the 1-0 advantage. 1215: It has been a stunning week for Halep, this is her seventh match after she came through qualifying. She has beaten Kuznetsova, A Radwaska, Vinci and Jankovic in the last seven days. Serena has not dropped a set or even come close to so far. She beat Halep at Wimbledon 2011 but only after losing the first set. 1209: Good afternoon and welcome to semi-final day at the Foro Italico. We are about to get underway in our first semi: Serena Williams v Simona Halep. Following that we have Sara Errani v Victoria Azarenka at 2pm. Predictions please to @ianbakersport. Here’s mine: Serena in two, Errani in three.

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