Errani first Italian woman in semis
Sara Errani swept past compatriot, doubles partner and best friend Roberta Vinci to become the first Italian woman in the Open era to make the US Open semi-finals yesterday.
Errani, the 10th seed who was the French Open runner-up to Maria Sharapova this year, defeated the 20th-seeded Vinci 6-2, 6-4 and goes on to face either three-time champion Serena Williams or Ana Ivanovic for a place in the final.
The 25-year-old Errani was playing in her third Grand Slam quarter-final of the year while Vinci, four years older, was making her debut in a last-eight at a major.
The pair have won seven doubles titles in 2012, a haul which includes the French Open, but it was Errani’s greater big-match experience which proved decisive.
“It’s always hard to play against a friend and it was strange seeing her on the other side of the net,” said Errani, who already has four tour singles titles to her name this year.
“I am happy to get to the semi-final. Can I win the title? I will tell you in three or four days.”
Only a few hundred fans made it into a rain-hit Louis Armstrong Stadium to witness the first time that two Italian women had made the last eight of a major.
They saw Errani take a crucial break, the fifth of the set, to lead 5-4 in the second set and wrap up the tie after 72 minutes when Vinci netted a service return, her 37th error of the match.
Later in the evening, third seed Maria Sharapova advanced to the semi-finals with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over 11th seed Marion Bartoli in a match halted Tuesday by rain.
Sharapova will next face top seed Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, the reigning Australian Open champion, for a berth in Saturday’s final.
Rain has played havoc with the US Open programme this year, sparking fear of a fifth consecutive Monday men’s final and reviving the debate over putting a roof on at least one stadium.