>> Saturday, May 19, 2012
After a couple of withdrawals by tournament favorites and a mid-match retirement by a hometown favorite, tournament organizers are still breathing a sigh of relief because the 201http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2614786968084658568#editor/target=post;postID=13487780839538314302 Internazionali BNL d'Italia women's singles final will still be contested by high profile WTA stars. World no. 2 and defending champion Maria Sharapova and last year's French Open winner Li Na both advanced to the women's singles finals of the 2012 Rome tennis tournament. Sharapova will attempt to win her second Rome title in two years, while Li is going for her first title since winning her first grand slam at Roland Garros.
Watch the Sharapova vs Li Na women's singles finals live online directly from Rome's Foro Italico here. Live online broadcast will start on Sunday, May 20, with the women’s final scheduled to start no earlier than 2.15 p.m. local time. Newly Available: Watch Sharapova vs Na Li - Rome 2012 Match Highlights and Interviews.
The no. 8-seed Li was the first to advance to the final after the season's hottest clay court player Serena Williams was forced to withdraw due to a back injury. It was a sorry ending for Serena as she was riding her best career clay court winning streak at 17 matches. Li was sympathetic with Serena's injury, and thought before the match that she'd have a chance to play against the "best player in the world". Li told reporters that she was happy to be in the final, and wished Serena a good recovery. "I hope she can get healthy again in time for the French Open and come back to the court." Li had previously won 5 WTA titles in 11 finals contested. She will be aiming for title no. 6 on Sunday.
At a later match, Sharapova followed Li into the final with a straight set 63 64 win over no. 12-seed German Angelique Kerber. Kerber, by virtue of reaching the semi-finals assured herself of being a top 10 player for the first time in her career. The win for Sharapova avenged a loss to Kerber in their last meeting in the quarterfinals of Paris in February; Kerber won that match for her first top 10 win, and would notch up five other top 10 wins including one over no. 4-seed Petra Kvitova in the previous round.
Against Li, Sharapova will be contesting her 42nd WTA title and fifth for the year. She has an impressive 25-16 record in finals and will be aiming to defend a clay-court title for the first time in her career. The Russian leads Li in their head-to-head series 6-4 including an easy 63 60 win in their last encounter at the quarterfinals of this year's Miami tournament. Li however, won their last match on clay, at the semifinals of the French Open on her way to her first grand slam win.
Sharapova vs Li Career head-to-head: Sharapova leads 6-4:
2005 AUSTRALIAN OPEN HARD R32 M.Sharapova 6-0 6-2
2006 MIAMI HARD R64 M.Sharapova 6-2 6-4
2006 BIRMINGHAM GRASS R16 M.Sharapova 6-2 6-4
2006 US OPEN HARD R16 M.Sharapova 6-4 6-2
2009 FRENCH OPEN CLAY R16 M.Sharapova 6-4 0-6 6-4
2009 BIRMINGHAM GRASS S N. Li 6-4 6-4
2010 BIRMINGHAM GRASS F N. Li 7-5 6-1
2011 FRENCH OPEN CLAY S N. Li 6-4 7-5
2011 WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS HARD R1 N. Li 7-6(4) 6-4
2012 MIAMI HARD Q M.Sharapova 6-3 6-0
Watch Sharapova vs Li Na live online for the women's singles championship in Rome's 2012 Internazionali BNL d'Italia.