Serena Williams, who defended her title last week in Madrid, won the Rome title today by easily defeating Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Williams then put the icing on the cream cake by delivering her entire acceptance speech in Italian.
Earlier in the clay season, Williams won Charleston. This makes her the runaway favorite to win the French Open, the only major that she hasn't won multiple times. Williams won the French in 2002, but since then, has not been able to dominate on red clay because the slowness of the surface tends to neutralize her power and allows more clay-savvy players to take advantage.
Well, that was then--and this is now. Displaying a new dominance on the slowest of surfaces, Williams has become the woman to beat in Paris. Her two main competitors (in my opinion) are defending champion Maria Sharapova and Li Na. Each of them has also won the French Open once. Li's French Open warmup hasn't been that impressive; Sharapova (who withdrew from the Rome quarterfinals because of a viral illness) is going to be at the opposite end of the draw from Williams. Should the two top seeds prevail, it could be an interesting final--or not. Williams has been dominant over Sharapova on other surfaces for the last decade.
Last year, Sara Errani made it to the final, but her serve wasn't good enough to make her competitive against Sharapova. It still isn't.
There was an upset in the Rome doubles final, and it couldn't have been easy for the crowd. Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the top seeds, were beaten 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 by the unseeded team of Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai. Errani and Vinci also lost to Hsieh and Peng in the second round in Indian Wells.