We are down to the semifinals in the Women's Draw at the U.S. Open and once again it is littered with the usual suspects. You have Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova who are no surprises but one name that may catch you off guard is Sara Errani of Italy.
Sara Errani is not the household name but could soon become one if her string of success continues. After all, in 2012 she has made the Finals at the French Open, Quarterfinals at the Australian Open and 3rd round at Wimbledon before making it to the semifinals at the U.S. Open. She is 10th in the World with a bullet in singles.
For good measure, Errani has won 15 WTA doubles Championships in her career, 6 ITF doubles Championships and is part of the 3rd ranked doubles team paired with fellow Italian Roberta Vinci. Ironically, she defeated her good friend in the Quarterfinals to reach the Semifinals in singles.
Next up for Errani in singles is Serena Williams. Williams will be the overwhelming favorite if she continues to play at the level she has since her early departure at Roland Garros.
Errani has shown she can be successful on a variety of surfaces in 2012 with runs at the 2 hard court Majors to go with success on the red clay in Paris. She did not fare as well on grass falling in the first round at the London Olympics and while she made it to the third round at Wimbledon, suffered the dubious "Golden Set" to Yaroslava Shvedova, losing every point in the first set of the match in which she was eliminated.
However, Errani did recover nicely after the grass season with wins after the Olympic Games over the likes of Marion Bartoli in New Haven and Angelique Kerber earlier at the U.S. Open.
Interestingly, Errani's tennis origins started under Nick Bolletieri at his Tennis Academy in Florida when she was just 12 years old. Bolletieri is noted for launching the likes of players such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and both Williams Sisters, to name a few.
It will be a daunting task for Errani to defeat Serena Williams in New York but in 2012 at the age of 25, she has shown a level of consistency that any player would love to achieve. When you consider that she has made it to the quarterfinals or beyond in 3 of the 4 Grand Slam events in singles, and has turned around and advanced to the Finals of 3 out of the 4 Grand Slams in doubles (with a chance to win her second title of the year this weekend), that is the definition of a successful year.
There would be no stretch to the imagination, at the pace she is striding, Errani could break into the highest tier in Women's singles in 2013 and beyond.
(photo courtesy of Christian Mesiano)