By Ros Satar

  • Garbiñe Muguruza v Madison Keys – H2H: Keys leads 1-0
  • Serena Williams v Irina-Camelia Begu – First meeting

ROME, ITALY – World No. 1 and three time champion Serena Williams looked back to her best as she cruised into the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules

Garbiñe Muguruza v Madison Keys – H2H: Keys leads 1-0

Garbiñe Muguruza booked the first spot in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals without having dropped a set all tournament. In her best performance in three visits to the Fora Italico, Muguruza has been in commanding form, and fought her toughest battle so far against Timea Bacsinszky, 7-5 6-2.

Holding her serve in a long game in the opener was a good start, but better still was keeping her nerve when broken by Bacsinszky midway through the first set. The Spaniard hit straight back as the pair constantly battled between deuce and ad points. It was Muguruza that got the final breakthrough, breaking the Swiss on her third set point to take the lead.

Despite facing a lot of pressure early in the second set, Muguruza struck for home to book her berth in the semi-final.

As reported in WTATennis.com, Muguruza said: “I am satisfied. The matches I played with Timea before were very tough matches and very hard. So it’s a great victory for me on clay, also, because she beat Carla yesterday so that’s a sign she’s playing well.”

So what can we look forward to in this match-up? Although Keys has the slim edge in their head to head, it was on hard court 3-setter in Cincinnati. Both have the ability to really hit through the court, and have solid power games, but maybe Muguruza just has the tendency to be a little more consistent in a match, where Keys can just keep going after a crumbling shot.

Keys has gained in confidence on the dirt this season, actually having a little more momentum in Madrid, and one match more than Muguruza in Rome. The big serving American will look to want to take control of the rallies early, but she can also be pretty nifty when she does come in to the net. Muguruza has been pretty formidable this week, and we can expect attacking play with a very heavy ball.

Prediction: Muguruza in three sets.

Serena Williams v Irina-Camelia Begu – First meeting

Williams, watched by the troublesome pooch who’s dinner caused her all manner of issues, was in no mood to mess around as she wrought some level of revenge of the equally veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova. Williams ripped through their match in under an hour, grabbing  little revenge for her defeat in Miami at the hands of the Russian, as Williams coasted to a 6-2 6-0 win.

Don’t let the score fool you – Kuznetsova was producing some great tennis, but Williams was firing on every cylinder, and now surely is looking a firm favourite to lift another title in Rome. Standing in her way is Romania’s Begu, who flummoxed Muguruza in Rome. Something for Williams to watch out for – wherever Muguruza was hitting to the court in Spain, Begu was there. She has great defence and looks to wear most people down.

In Williams’ current form, you would have to give her the edge on the longer rallies, the dictating of the points, but Begu can have the power to frustrate. This could be a test, but we expect Williams to prevail.

Prediction: Williams in two sets.

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