Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova WTA Rome tennis live: World No. 1 Halep hopes to continue turning tide against Sharapova

Ricky Dimon in WTA 18 May 2018
  • Halep vs Sharapova Internazionali BNL d'Italia tennis is live from Rome on Saturday at 5pm local/4pm BST
  • Halep has cruised in Rome, while Sharapova needed more than three hours against Ostapenko on Friday
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 18: Simona Halep of Romania returns a backhand in her quarterfinal match against Caroline Garcia of France at the Internazionali BNL dItalia on May 18, 2018. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

It doesn't get much better than this for a semifinal match at a premier event: Simona Halep vs. Maria Sharapova. That will happen on Saturday in Rome.

Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova BNL d'Italia tennis is streamed live from Rome on Saturday at 5:00pm local/4:00pm BST (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify). Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis 

Simona Halep will maintain her No. 1 ranking after the BNL d'Italia and be seeded first for the French Open. Halep guaranteed that much when her 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Caroline Garcia coincided with Caroline Wozniacki's 6-3, 6-1 loss to Anett Kontaveit on Friday.

But the Romanian has a much more pressing concern on her mind than any ranking or the French Open. This season's second Grand Slam can be put on the back-burner at least until the conclusion of her Rome campaign. For now, the main focus is Friday's semifinal showdown against Maria Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova celebrates after defeating Jelena Ostapenko. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Halep and Sharapova will be squaring off for the ninth time in their careers when they battle for a spot in the title match. Sharapova is enjoying a healthy 7-1 lead in the head-to-head series, but they have split a pair of encounters since the Russian returned from her meldonium suspension and Halep won their most recent meeting 6-2, 6-2 last fall in Beijing. Sharapova is 2-0 on clay thanks to three-set victories in the 2014 Madrid final and a few weeks later in the French Open final.

Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2018 live stream: WTA tennis live from Rome

A Grand Slam title still eludes Halep, who also lost a three-set Roland Garros final to Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 while also falling in the Australian Open champion match to Wozniacki earlier this season. Aside from that void on the resume, Halep has been outstanding. In addition to her performance Down Under, the 26-year-old's 2018 campaign also includes a title in Shenzhen, a semifinal showing in Doha, and a quarterfinal result in Madrid (lost to Karolina Pliskova). In Rome, Halep destroyed Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-0 and got a walkover from Madison Keys prior to her win over Garcia.

Whereas the top seed has surrendered a mere six games the entire way, Sharapova took a much more circuitous route to the semis. The 31-year-old beat Ashleigh Barty and Dominica Cibulkova in three sets, took care of Daria Gavrilova in straights, and survived Ostapenko 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-5 in a three-hour and 10-minute thriller on Friday.

"It’s always nice to have a battle with a few ups and downs, and to finish strong," Sharapova said following her quarterfinal triumpj. "To get through a match like this against a really high-quality opponent and to end up winning it, I’m quite proud of the effort.

"It's great to back at this stage. My fans have been so loyal throughout the years and for me to be able to produce this kind of tennis again in front of them is very special."

But it's not like she will have home-court advantage against Halep, who enjoys plenty of crowd support everywhere she goes. The top seed is also in fine form and extremely well-rested, so she should have an edge over Sharapova on Saturday.




Halep vs Sharapova Internazionali BNL d’Italia tennis is live from Rome on Saturday at 5:00pm local/4:00pm BST


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Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova WTA Rome tennis live: World No. 1 Halep hopes to continue turning tide against Sharapova

Simona Halep trails the head-to-head series 7-1 against Maria Sharapova, but the world No. 1 can change things at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia: WTA Rome tennis live from Rome

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