Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal Reach Italian Open Semifinals

Women’s tennis star Serena Williams advanced to the semifinals at the Italian Open on Friday after Flavia Pennetta retired with a right wrist problem while trailing 4-0 in the first set.

The Italian player called for the trainer after falling behind 3-0. She had her wrist re-taped, but the pain ended up being too much and she was forced to concede during the fifth game after 28 minutes of play.

“For me it was good because I have played every day and I haven’t had a day off,” said Williams, who won Italy’s clay-court tournament 10 years ago. “I hope she is feeling better.”

The victory extended Williams’ winning streak to 17 matches following titles in Charleston and Madrid. She also has two victories in Fed Cup.

Williams’ next opponent will be French Open champion Li Na, who eliminated fourteenth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Older sister Venus Williams plays defending champion Maria Sharapova later Friday.

On men’s side, No. 3 ranked Rafael Nadal got the upper hand against Tomas Berdych, grinding out a 6-4, 7-5 entertaining victory to seal his place in the semi-finals of a Rome Masters event which he is seeking a sixth title.

“I played one of my best matches of the year today,” Nadal told a news conference following the match. “Tomas is a player with a lot of confidence and playing very well, so I am very happy with how I played.

“I did one fantastic thing, in my opinion. I stepped inside the court a lot, with my forehand and my movements were fantastic.”

Next up for Nadal will be sixth-seeded David Ferrer, who beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will play No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga later today and Federer will be up against Andreas Seppi of Italy.

via USA Today