The women's semifinals at the U.S. Open are less than a day away: In one half of the draw, it's No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 3 Maria Sharapova, while on the other side it's No. 4 Serena Williams against the surprising No. 10 Sara Errani.
Azarenka and Sharapova could be considered a toss-up as both have had stellar campaigns in 2012. As for the Williams-Errani matchup, it would be hard for anyone to pick against Serena, who's playing some of her best tennis in years.
But then again, it's hard to discount what Errani of Italy has accomplished this year, one that can only be described as a dream season. The 2012 French Open finalist has won four titles this year, and while none of them were any of the WTA Tour's premier events, that many tournament victories is a number that's hard to come by for any player.
As this has been a breakthrough season for her on the singles court, the same can be said for her in doubles as well.
She and her partner, countrywoman Roberta Vinci, are contesting their third Grand Slam final of the season, having finished runners-up at the Australian Open and winning the French. The pair has won seven titles overall this year.
So standing on the precipice of the U.S. Open semifinals, Errani has tasted first-place success a total of 11 times this year between singles and doubles, more than any other competitor on the WTA Tour this season.
Should that alone make her a legitimate contender for player of the year?
There's still that missing-a-singles-Slam notch on her resumé, and as alluded to earlier, it's hard to pick against Williams at this point in the tournament.
Nevertheless, what Errani has accomplished in '12 has been nothing short of impressive and deserves some measure of accolades and attention.
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