Serena rolls; Errani ousts Li to reach Rome semis
Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning champion Serena Williams was a predictable easy winner, while former French Open runner-up Sara Errani upset former Roland Garros titlist Li Na in Friday's quarterfinal action at the $2.6 million Italian Open, a French Open tune-up.
The world No. 1 superstar Williams waltzed past 25-year-old Chinese Zhang Shuai 6-1, 6-3 to setup a semifinal showdown with former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.
Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in last year's final for her second career title in Rome.
With Friday's victory, Williams became the active career leader in match wins with 653. Her older sister, Venus, has 652.
Meanwhile, the 10th-seeded Italian crowd favorite Errani doused the second- seeded reigning Australian Open titlist Li 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 on the red clay at Foro Italico. This marked Errani's first-ever victory over a top-three player and her first career win against Li in seven tries.
A sluggish Li said she got sick less than 20 minutes before the match started.
"Before I came to the court I already threw up," she said. "I don't know if it's because of the pasta or because the allergies made me sick because everywhere I've been sneezing this week. It's never stopped. I really have no idea the reason why I throw up.
"Maybe I'm sick of pasta," Li joked. "The Chinese stomach is a little bit different."
Li was the Rome runner-up two years ago.
A milder upset came when sixth-seeded former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic shut down third-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, 6-4, 6-4. The Serbian Jankovic titled here back-to-back in 2007 and 2008 and was the Rome runner-up in 2010.
Jankovic will tangle with Errani in the other semifinal. The two women have split two career meetings.
Meanwhile on Day 5, another former No. 1 from Serbia, the 11th-seeded former Roland Garros champ Ivanovic, held off 13th-seeded rising Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the final four in the Italian capital.
Ivanovic will meet the reigning French and U.S. Open champion Williams for a sixth time, with the American great leading their lifetime series, 4-1, The Serb, however, picked up her lone win in their last meeting in the fourth round at the Australian Open back in January.
05/16 15:09:04 ET