Serena, Jelena, Ana, and Maria. That sounds like a semifinal draw from a couple of years ago. It isn't quite the same though. The "Ana" part is a surprise, and the last name on that list refers to clay court artist Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, not the other Maria, who probably wouldn't be on the list even if she were healthy.
Ivanovic has made a resurgence in Rome, and has advanced to the semifinals via her defeat today of 14th seed Nadia Petrova, who just can't seem to put it together anymore, not even on clay, at the deep end of a tournament. Ivanovic served her way to a 6-2, 7-5 victory, and will play Martinez Sanchez in the semifinals. Martinez Sanchez defeated Lucie Safarova 7-6, 6-4. Expect some big serving from both players in their match tomorrow.
Top seed Serena Williams defeated Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Kirilenko was down 0-4 in the second set, but fought back to create a contest.
And then there was Venus Williams, whose serve was terribly off today, and--to make it worse--she faced a completely in-form Jelena Jankovic. Jankovic loves Rome. She has won the tournament twice, and her first big career turn-around took place there. Jankovic won 6-0, 6-1 in just under an hour. She will play Serena Williams in the semifinal. Jankovic is 3-4 against Williams in tour matches, and they have never before faced each other on clay.