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Maria Sakkari, of Greece, returns the ball to Kristina Mladenovic, of France, during a quarterfinal match at the Italian Open, in Rome, Friday, May 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Maria Sakkari, of Greece, returns the ball to Kristina Mladenovic, of France, during a quarterfinal match at the Italian Open, in Rome, Friday, May 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)|Associated Press
Tennis

WTA Tennis Saturday: Abrams picks the Italian Open women’s semis: Pliskova v Sakkari and Bertens v Konta

The Bertens match goes at 6 am EDT. The Pliskova match is at 11 am.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Internazionali BNL d’Italia
Rome, Italy
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Women’s Singles Semifinals

Karolina Pliskova over Maria Sakkari
Karolina Pliskova is still making her climb up the WTA rankings, and right now she’s No. 7, after temporarily dropping two places last week. Since many people compare current women players to Serena Williams, who, in my opinion, is done, and yesterday’s news, to determine how good a particular player is, remember that it was Pliskova who took out Serema in the Australian Open this year. She’s that good. Maria Sakkari is a 23-year-old from Greece who is just showing the world what she can do, and is looking awfully good doing it. In beating Kristina Mladenovic yesterday 6-0 in the third, she showed that she is a new force to be reckoned with on the women’s Tour. But she’s not as good as Pliskova, and Pliskova will take this contest in a close, tight, typical clay court match.

Kiki Bertens over Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta is playing the kind of tennis that she did a few years ago when she peaked in the Top Five. She took out Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 in the third yesterday, and looked like her old self, which spells trouble for the top women on the WTA Tour. Kiki Bertens, however, is playing the best tennis on the Tour right now, and has an eight match winning steak going after winning Madrid last week and adding three wins here in Rome. I think Bertens, who owns a 2-1 advantage over Konta, lifetime and is ranked No. 4 in the world, will win this match as she goes for her second straight title.