Italian Open Tennis 2013: Predicting Semifinals for Men's and Women's Draws

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2013

ROME, ITALY - MAY 17:  Rafael Nadal of Spain in action during his quarter final match against David Ferrer of Spain on day six of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2013 at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre  on May 17, 2013 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

With the French Open a little over a week away, all eyes are on Rome for the semifinals of the 2013 Italian Open.

This is one of the last tuneup events before play begins at Roland Garros. And up to this point, the tournament has been very enjoyable. There have been plenty of upsets, yet there are still enough stars to make the final two rounds exciting to watch.

With the semifinals set to begin on Saturday, here are some quick predictions for the men's and women's draws.



No. 5 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 6 Tomas Berdych

This should be the most intriguing matchup in the semifinals.

Both Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych needed three sets to get past the quarterfinals. Nadal beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, with Berdych upsetting the top-seeded Novak Djokovic.

For Nadal, this tournament continues his strong run to the French Open. He's won five singles titles and earned a 31-2 record. It seems a very smart move for Nadal to take the amount of time off he did and allow his knees to fully recover.

It's been a solid—and somewhat unspectacular—2013 for Berdych. He's made two finals of the 10 tournaments in which he's played, losing both.

The odds are against Berdych making it three finals. He's only 3-13 against Nadal, with the last win coming in 2006.

Winner: Rafael Nadal


No. 2 Roger Federer vs. Benoit Paire

It looks like fans are going to see the 30th match between Nadal and Roger Federer.

Federer has had a relatively easily road to the semifinals as he's yet to play a seeded opponent. On the other hand, Benoit Paire knocked off seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the third round.

These two have played each other twice, most recently at the 2013 Australian Open, and Federer won both matches in straight sets. That's good news for Federer as he's yet to make a final in 2013. He needs to start building some momentum going into the French Open.

Paire could make this interesting, but Federer will have too skill to be defeated.

Winner: Roger Federer



No. 1 Serena Williams vs. Simona Halep

This is easily the most one-sided meeting in the first round.

There's Serena Williams, who is the favorite to win the French Open despite losing to Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Williams has won four singles titles already in 2013 and has a record of 31-2.

And then there is qualifier Simona Halep. She did well to beat Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round, but wins over Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova aren't nearly as impressive as they would have been a couple of years ago.

Halep has made a nice run to the semifinal , but that run will come to a stop when she faces Williams.

Winner: Serena Williams


No. 3 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 7 Sara Errani

This semifinal was almost extremely good. Then Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani's opponent, had to bow out because of illness. That eliminated the possibility of Sharapova meeting Victoria Azarenka.

As it stands, this is still a good matchup. Azarenka, the 2013 Australian Open champion, will be the favorite. But everybody loves to see the underdog win, and Errani has a solid chance of doing so.

It took three sets for Azarenka to dispatch Sam Stosur in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Errani was able to rest as Sharapova withdrew.

Despite that break, Errani will have a hard time handling Azarenka, who will be looking to rebound from her embarrassing second-round exit at the Madrid Open.

Winner: Victoria Azarenka