The semifinals of the Women´s Draw at the Rio Open presented by Claro are all set and will take place this Saturday, at the Jockey Club.

Petra Martic, from Croatia, takes on Italian Francesca Schiavone on the first match of the day, starting at 2:30 pm at Court Guga Kuerten. Following that, wild card Sorana Cirstea will face American Shelby Rogers for the first time in their careers.

Cirstea, who is coming back from an injury, is playing her first WTA main draw since Bogota last April.

“Things are going really well and happy to be on the semifinals in my first time in Rio. So far, so good. This is becoming my favorite tournament because it´s my first time here and it´s becoming my favorite city, the atmosphere is amazing and as you can see I love the city so much I want to stay longer”, said the Romanian, currently ranked 199 in the world.

On the quarterfinals she defeated Danka Kovinic, from Montenegro, 6-1 and 6-2 in one hour 25 minutes. “It was not an easy match as the score shows. She started to play better as the match went along, on the second set, and I had to dig deeper and stay there and be aggressive and end on a good note.”

As for her next opponent, she said she doesn´t expect any easy game. “It´s going to be the first time I face Shelby, unfortunately I don´t know her very much. We haven´t even practiced together. It´s going to be a tough match and I´m going to try to focus on my side of the court.”

Rogers, who is also playing in Rio for the first time, advanced to the semifinals after beating Brazilian Paula Gonçalves by 6-2, 5-7 and 6-3 in match that was suspended for more than two hours because of the rain.

“The game was tougher than I expected, I know Paula is been playing really well this week and the crowd was behind her, which is great. It´s cool to see fans get behind a player like that and support women´s tennis, even though I was on the other side it was awesome. I played really well, she came back really strong after the rain delay and I wish I could close it out there, but I´m happy to get the win”, said Rogers, who made it to the semifinals on the last two events she played, but lost both.

“This time I´m playing on clay, so that changes the game a little bit. The points are longer and you have to be more creative and try some different shots. I need to keep focusing on the things I´ve been working on and trying to play the way I want to. Everyone at this point is tough, so there is no easy match. But I´m going to fight for every point”, commented the American player, ranked 131 in the world.


For more images, check www.flickr.com/rioopen2016.

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