The semifinals are set; yet, when the draw came out, few would have anticipated two of the players slated in the eight remaining singles players.
On the ATP World Tour, the number one seed, Rafael Nadal, will renew his rivalry with Novak Djokovic. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 26:24 and comes in with the knowledge that he defeated Nadal the last time they played in Rome.The king of clay has been tested and knows that he will have another test tomorrow. If he can remember that he is playing well and forget his record against the Serb, he should be in the final come Sunday. Although Djokovic looks to be getting back to his old form before his right elbow injury and surgery, I still think he is not quite back to his top form and is still vulnerable.
The defending champion and the number two seed, Alexander Zverev, is still on course to defend his title; he will face off against the number four seed, Marin Cilic. Zverev leads their head-to-head 4:1 and comes into the semifinals knowing that he has not lost to the Croat since 2015 and no doubt thinks there is no reason why this should be any different tomorrow. However, he is the defending champion and all the pressure will be on his shoulders; yet, the young German is showing his maturity under pressure. He recently defended his BMW Open title in Germany, so he will be ready for the battle.
On the WTA Tour, the number one seed and number one ranked female player, Simona Halep, will face off against Maria Sharapova. Sharapova leads their head-to-head 7:1; however, a lot has changed for both players. Halep is the much better clay court player and comes into the semifinals with a lot more confidence than her opponent plus she has the added advantage of knowing she won their last match.This will be a battle for the number one player; however, she should relish the opportunity to showcase her clay court prowess.
The defending champion and number four seed, Elina Svitolina, will try to get past the resurgent Anett Kontaveit. The Estonian is riding a wave of confidence, which has continued to grow with her defeat of two top ten players, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, en route to the semifinals of this prestigious event. This will be their first meeting and Kontaveit will try to overpower her opponent; however, do not underestimate the determination of the Ukrainian.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally (Alexander Zverev, Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep)