Maria is through to the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, Italy for the third time after she defeated Daria Gavrilova of Russia 7-5 6-3 in an hour and 48 minutes.
At 6-5 in the first set, Gavrilova had a injury time-out and when play resumed, Gavrilova came out to serve and at 30-40, Maria hit a backhand drop shot to take the set 7-5 in 62 minutes. Maria had 20 winners to her opponent’s 6 winners.
In the second set, Gavrilova got an early break and led 3-1 but Maria came storming back to break Gavrilova’s serve twice to lead 5-3. Maria stepped up to serve for the match in the next game and duly delivered as she held to 30 and won match point when Gavrilova netted a forehand return.
In Sunday’s final to be played at 1.30 PM, Maria will face No.10 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Maria has played the Spaniard four times before and leads the series 3-1. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2013 Indian Wells R3: Maria won 7-5 6-3
2014 Montreal R3: Suarez Navarro won 2-6 6-4 2-6
2014 Beijing R3: Maria won 6-1 7-6
2015 Brisbane QF: Maria won 6-1 6-3