The former three-time Internazionali BNL d'Italia champion Serena Williams has still not dropped a set at this year's tournament and is looking to be in ominous form as she is set to defend her French Open title next week in Paris. She defeated the in-form Irina-Camelia Begu in just under an hour and 30 minutes to book her place in the final for the fourth time of her career. She will play her compatriot Madison Keys in the final, who dispatched Garbiñe Muguruza in the other semifinal in straight sets.
Close opening set goes the way of Williams
In the opening set of the match, Williams served up three aces and committed zero double faults and she had a high first serve percentage at 67%. The world number one managed to win 54% of the points on her first serve.
In the fourth game of the match, Begu was 15-30 down on her serve but she held her own as she had Williams on the move, which forced the world number one to put a backhand into the net, eventually digging out of that hole to level at 2-all. The world number one initially went a break up on the Romanian a couple games later to lead 4-2, but Begu quickly recovered and drew level at 4-4.
Many people thought that Williams would roll over Begu as she dismantled Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals but that was not the case at all.
Begu played well in the opening set but unfortunately for the Romanian, the inevitable happened. Serving at 4-5 down to stay in the opening set, Williams returned brilliantly to Begu's forehand, which proved to be too much for her to handle and the world number one took the opening set 6-4.
The world number 35 shouldn't be too disappointed with herself in the opening set as she had a 67% first serve percentage and saved 4 of the 10 break points that she saved but she did commit three double faults, which is not a great statistic to have against Williams.
Williams cruises in the second set
After a closely-contested first set, Begu showed encouraging signs by breaking Williams in the first game of the second set and that would be the last game, the Romanian would win throughout the match.
The world number one broke back immediately and showed tremendous athleticism by breaking Begu again in the fourth game to command a 3-1 lead.
Begu did play a few drop shots which caught Williams out sometimes but the American was rarely troubled by her opponent in the second set. Williams converted all 3 of the break point opportunities that she created and won 83% of the points on her first serve.
The world number one clinched the match by putting a big serve out wide, Begu returned the serve very weak back to Williams, Williams then wrongfooted Begu, who did well to recover and retrieve the ball back but the world number one hit a clever half volley to clinch the match in a comprehensive straight sets win.
Begu has had an impressive week at the Foro Italico and should remain optimistic about her chances at Roland Garros. On the other hand, Williams will be playing Madison Keys in the final, which will be the first all-American clay court final since the 2002 French Open final when Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus Williams on that occasion.