Maria defeats Ostapenko to reach Rome semis

Maria is through to the semis of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, Italy after a marathon win over No.5 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Maria won 6-7 6-4 7-5 in three hours and 10 minutes over the reigning French Open champion.

In the first meeting between the two, Ostapenko went up 5-2 in the first set. Maria then won three games in a row to level the set 5-5. The first set was eventually decided by a tie-break which Ostapenko won 8-6.

After a trade of breaks at the beginning of the second set, Maria broke to love in sixth game to lead 4-2 when Ostapenko hit a forehand wide. Ostapenko then won the next two games to level the set 4-4. In the ninth game, Maria saved a break point on her serve and broke in the next game with a scorching backhand winner to take the set 6-4 to force a final set.

In the final set, Maria led 5-2 after breaking Ostapenko’s serve in sixth game. Leading 5-4, Maria had two match points on Ostapenko’s serve but was unable to take either them as Ostapenko won the game to level the set 5-5. Maria held her serve in the next game and then broke Ostapenko serve in the final game as she sealed her first top 10 win of 2018.

In the WTA rankings, Maria provisionally moves up to No.29 with 1513 points.

In Saturday’s semi-final match, Maria will face No.1 seed Simona Halep of Romania. Maria has played the 25-year-old seven times before and leads the series 7-0. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2012 Indian Wells R3: Maria won 6-3 6-4
2012 Beijing R1: Maria won 7-5 7-5
2014 Madrid Final: Maria won 1-6 6-2 6-3
2014 French Open Final: Maria won 6-4 6-7 6-4
2014 Cincinnati QF: Maria won 3-6 6-4 6-4
2015 WTA Finals RR: Maria won 6-4 6-4
2017 US Open R1: Maria won 6-4 4-6 6-3

Here is Saturday’s schedule:
Centrale – 12.00 PM start (6.00 AM ET & 3.00 AM PT)
Elina Svitolina (UKR) (4) vs. Anett Kontaveit (EST)
Not before 2.30 PM (8.30 AM ET & 5.30 AM PT)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) (1) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB) (11)
Not before 5.00 PM (11.00 AM ET & 8.00 AM PT)
Simona Halep (ROU) (1) vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)