Lawn Tennis
Power Hitters Of Women's Tennis Could Meet In Rome
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Monday, May 12, 2008 12:15pm CST USA
Power Hitters Of Women's Tennis Could Meet In Rome, Maria Sharapova, 
Venus Williams, Serena Williams
Photos by Alessandra Tarantino/AP, Alberto Rodriguez/AFP, Unknown
ROME, ITALY ( - Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova of Russia could meet Wimbledon champion Venus Williams of the USA in the semifinals this week at the Inernazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

The two players have not faced each other in a WTA Tour match since Williams won at Wimbledon last year 6-1, 6-3 in the round of sixteen.

2008 WTA Tour Records
Maria Sharapova: 22-2 | Serena Williams: 21-2 | Venus Williams: 10-5

Should Venus or Sharapova reach the final, awaiting the finalist could be American Serena Williams who is 21-2 this year on the WTA Tour.

World number two Sharapova won the Australian Open in January without dropping a set and then this spring won the title in Amelia Island. At Charleston last month however Sharapova was outhit by world number six Serena Williams 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Each of the three power hitters possess weapons which could lead her to the Rome title, but not before several compelling matchups are won. Venus could face recent Prague winner and 10th seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia and 4th seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia prior to the semifinals. In Serena's half of the draw are top seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and 3rd seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.

World number one Justine Henin of Belgium, who is 16-4 this year in WTA Tour match play, withdrew Friday from the claycourt event because of fatigue. Henin's late withdrawal earned her a $20,000 fine from the WTA Tour.

Sharapova and the Williams sisters take to the courts most likely Tuesday or Wednesday after all receiving first round byes.

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