Simona Halep books Kiki Bertens semi-final in Rome
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 22/05/17 3:15pm
Simona Halep progressed to the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL D'Italia with a resounding victory over valiant qualifier Anett Kontaveit.
The Romanian sixth seed surged through in Rome after a 6-2 6-4 win over Estonia's Kontaveit on Friday.
The world no 4 is coming off the back of a victory at the Madrid Masters last week and is making a strong claim to be one of the favourites for the French Open later this month.
Halep, who reached the French Open final at Roland Garros in 2014, will next meet Kiki Bertens who overcame Australia's Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3.
"Today was a good match, but I can say that I could finish earlier in the second set," said Halep, who raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set and broke Kontaveit in the opening game of the second before winning.
"But she turned it a little bit around... she came back for a few games, and she played really, really well."
Bertens, a former French Open semi-finalist, proved to have too many weapons and experience for the 23-year-old Gavrilova.
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina faught off a fightback by Czech favourite Karolina Pliskova to book her semi-final place. The eighth seed secured her first victory over Pliskova, the second seed, in a 6-2 7-6 triumph.
Svitolina had raced into a 4-0 first set lead over the big-serving Pliskova despite having never tasted victory during the pair's previous matches.
The Ukranian's resilience and defence from the back of the court neutralised the Pliskova serve and the world no 11 secured the victory in an hour and 32 minutes after saving three set points in the second set.
American Venus Williams, who beat Britain's Johanna Konta, was knocked out by Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza, who progressed to face Svitolina in the last four with a hard-fought 6-2 3-6 6-2 win.
Muguruza, who will climb back into the world's top five when the new rankings are released on Monday, won the first four matches and comfortably took the opening set.
Williams saved five breaks points in the second before seizing her only chance to take the match into a decider, but Muguruza recovered her composure to see off the American veteran in an hour and 46 minutes.
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