The battle for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2013 women’s singles title will take place on Sunday, May 19th and WTA’s brightest stars will gun for the prestigious trophy – top-ranked Serena Williams and number three Victoria Azarenka.
Both players booked their place in the final with comfortable semifinal wins. Williams ended the fairytale run of Romanian qualifier Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0 while Azarenka overpowered Roland Garros 2012 finalist Sara Errani 6-0, 7-5.
Williams has now won 23 matches in a row, a career-best. She’s compiled 21 winning streaks twice in the past. What’s remarkable is that the top-ranked American is now 32-1 on clay since the start of last year’s claycourt season. Her only loss came from the French Open first round last year to Virginie Razzano.
“I don’t know if I feel better on clay this year or last year,” Williams said. “I felt great last year and I feel great this year too. I love playing on clay and have done very well on it, even at Roland Garros.”
Meanwhile, Azarenka said that though she handed a bagel to Errani, a claycourt specialist, the match was still a challenging one.
“I know the score looks easy in the first set, but it was not easy to play,” Azarenka said. “And in the second set I was happy with the way I played but I didn’t take all my chances. I lost focus and Sara is a great fighter and started to play hard and go for her shots, so I had to change my game a little bit. I think I could have done more in the second set but she’s a great player and I’m happy to win.
“Over the last couple of years clay is the most challenging surface for me, but I’m feeling more and more comfortable on it and this week is proof. I’m finding my game on this surface right now.”
Williams has a massive 11-2 head to head series lead against Azarenka but they’ve only played against each other once on clay, at last year’s Madrid Open with Williams prevailing. Their most recent meeting was at the Doha final earlier this year where Azarenka won.
“She played well in Doha,” Williams said. “I had opportunities I wasn’t able to use and Vika played well in the important points. It was a tough tournament, though, and I was happy to be in the final.”
“I’m excited about tomorrow,” Azarenka said. “It will be great to play someone at that level.”