Rome 2010 Women’s Final Preview

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit:Bruno Girin

The 2010 Rome Internazionali BNL d’Italia women’s singles semi finals were played last night and included an absolute classic match that was decided in the final set tie break. Today the Women’s Singles Final will be played on Campo Centrale beginning at 4pm local time in Rome.

The 1st semi final was a great match between a pair of former Rome singles champions – No.1 seed Serena Williams and No.7 seed Jelena Jankovic. The 28 year old Serena has been playing herself into form after not having played since she won the 2010 Australian Open whereas the 25 year old Jankovic is on a hot streak of form.

The match lived up to its promise and was decided by a tie break in the final set after 2 hours and 47 minutes. The 1st set went to the 12 time Grand Slam singles champion who won Rome in 2002, Serena deserved to win the set because she played the higher level of tennis throughout the set. The 1.75m American dictated the points, played aggressively by using her powerful serve, go for broke return of serve and point ending ground strokes.

The 2nd set was a big turn around, with the former World No.1 Jankovic outplaying Serena to take the set 6-3. Jankovic managed to keep the 1st set score close (4-6) but was using such a different game plan to the one she had used so successfully against Venus Williams and Yanina Wickmayer. The 1.77m Serbian only lost 3 games in those 2 matches by taking on her opponents through using her great agility, court movement and court coverage to rush them and get them on the run.

In the final set Jankovic, a dual Rome singles champion (2007-08), returned to the defensive style of play that she adopted in the 1st set. The 2008 US Open runner-up seemed to back herself into being able to outlast Serena, keep her own errors down to a minimum and retrieve so many of Serena’s shots, that she would extract the errors. Jankovic when on the attack more as the match drew to a close and won 5 points in a row to win the tie break 7-5.

Jankovic’s defensive mentality led to Serena leading all the way through the final set, including having chances to serve for the match, holding match point and leading in the tie break by 5 points to 2. Jankovic commented after the match, “I just fought her hard. I was down quite a bit in the third set. She was serving at match point and was up in the tie-break too, but I tried to stay as positive as I could. I really did my best. A lot of matches throughout my career I have saved match points and then won the match. I know you just have to believe in yourself and know the match is not over until it is over.”

In the final she will need to play far more aggressively to keep her opponent on the defensive in order to neutralise the wide variety of shots and numerous different point combinations her opponent loves to utilise when she is the one dictating the points.

The 27 year old Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez continued her storm up the rankings over the past 8 months and constant improvement in her achievements. On Monday she will have a new career high ranking inside the Top 20. Both Jankovic and Martinez Sanchez have won 1 match against each other, so the final will be a fitting decider of who the better player is.

Martinez Sanchez made much easier work of her opponent than Jankovic did and prevented an all Serbian final, by defeating Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 12 minutes. The 1.76m left hander earned a spot in her 1st singles final of a Premier FIVE level tournament and will provide an interesting final with her skills which allow her to do a bit of everything.

Martinez Sanchez is pictured above focused on her next move. The Spaniard has caused so many upsets in Rome that it is hard to pick against her. Jankovic will have to be sharp to keep up with her opponent’s moves which range from serve and volleying to looping cross court forehands high and deep the backhand and everything in between.

Jankovic on her past performances in this event deserves to win the tournament. However, who plays best in the final is all that counts. Jankovic and World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki have similar games and Martinez Sanchez has beaten Wozniacki all 3 times that they have played. It is easy to see that Jankovic could struggle with the changes of pace and frequent mixture of spins and depths of shot that MJMS conjures up with her wand (commonly known as a tennis racquet).

The women’s singles final draw in Rome is:

  • (1) (WC) Serena (7) Jelena Jankovic v. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (2) Wozniacki

The players name that is bolded is OCA’s prediction of who will win each match. The players names who have  a line drawn through them, are the seeded players who were expected to have reached the singles final, but were eliminated from that spot in the draw.

Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about Rome. Click this link for more details -> Rome 2010: Apr 24 – May 8.

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