Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Roland Garros runner-up Simona Halep reached the semifinals at the Italian Open, a clay-court French Open tune-up.
The second-seeded Romanian star whipped qualifier fellow countrywoman Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 6-0 at Foro Italico.
Halep's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be 10th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who upset fourth-seeded Czech left-hander Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2 on Friday. The reigning Wimbledon champion Kvitova was fresh off her title in Madrid last week.
Another quarterfinal result saw Russian qualifier Daria Gavrilova douse American qualifier Christina McHale 6-2, 6-4.
Gavrilova will meet the Maria Sharapova-Victoria Azarenka victor on Saturday. Sharapova titled here back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, while Azarenka was the 2013 Rome runner-up to Serena Williams, who pulled out of the draw on Thursday, citing an elbow injury.
Sharapova and Azarenka have split 14 career matchups, but the Russian has won the last three, including a tussle at Indian Wells earlier this season. Sharapova also topped the Belarusian Azarenka in a quarterfinal here in Rome in 2011 and has captured all three of their clay-court WTA encounters.