Garbine Muguruza claimed a hugely encouraging win ahead of her French Open title defence, beating Venus Williams in three sets to reach the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Friday.
The champion at Roland Garros 12 months ago has struggled for form in 2017 and was thrashed 6-1 6-3 by Timea Bacsinszky in her first match at last week's Madrid Open.
However, Muguruza has looked a different player in Rome and produced a largely high-quality display to beat veteran Williams 6-2 3-6 6-2.
The Spaniard will face Elina Svitolina in the last four after the Ukrainian recorded a first career victory over second seed Karolina Pliskova.
Svitolina, who has beaten world number one Angelique Kerber three times this season, triumphed 6-2 7-6 (11-9) to end a run of four straight defeats against the Czech.
The other semi-final in Rome will see sixth seed Simona Halep face Kiki Bertens following their respective wins over Anett Kontaveit and Daria Gavrilova.
SECOND-SET LAPSE NOT COSTLY FOR MUGURUZA
Muguruza displayed fine form in the first and third sets against Williams, but lost her radar in the middle of the match - making 20 unforced errors during set two.
When Williams broke for a 1-0 lead in the decider, things looked bleak for Muguruza.
However, the 23-year-old hit back - aided by a host of errors from her opponent - to ultimately triumph with a degree of comfort.
IN-FORM HALEP EASES THROUGH
Halep made serene progress to the last four, continuing the Romanian's fine form.
Having claimed the Madrid Open title, which came hot on the heels of a semi-final spot in Stuttgart, Halep secured a dominant 6-2 6-4 triumph over Kontaveit.
The Estonian had stunned world number one Angelique Kerber in the second round, but found the fourth-ranked Halep a more difficult opponent.
Despite dropping serve once in each set, Halep always looked comfortable and is limbering up nicely for the French Open, where she reached the final in 2014.
She will now face Kiki Bertens, who beat Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3 to reach her first semi-final this year.
PLISKOVA UPBEAT DESPITE DEFEAT
Although Pliskova suffered defeat on Friday, she took heart from the fact her three victories in Rome this week more than doubled her number of clay-court wins in 2017.
"I would say I’ve had three good matches here, which is better than all the other tournaments where I was playing on clay," she said.
"It's definitely an improvement, and there's still Paris in front of me."
|Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Gunners secure top spot despite defeat|
|Vikings´ Griffen asks fans to help name his baby during Thanksgiving game|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at Saturday´s rugby internationals|
|All Blacks skipper Read to miss Wales clash|
|Silva not giving ´one more word´ on Everton speculation|
|North free to choose region, insists Gatland|
|Everton sign Bramley Moore Dock lease|
|UEFA investigating Bayern after fans throw fake money in protest over Champions League prices|
|North´s Northampton spell ´like having a Ferrari in your garage but you can´t find the key´|
|Robben out of Gladbach clash with ´minor´ calf strain|
|Pochettino pleased to see Rose emotion|
|Fury still looks far from fitness with hearing set for December|
|Mourinho factor makes Man Utd a title threat, says Lampard|
|Chase hit with two-year ban for cocaine use|
|Jones returns to lead much-changed Wales against All Blacks|
|Chelsea´s best chance of success is Champions League, claims Lampard|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton not relishing imminent Halo, Vettel wants Baku awards|
|Cummins savours taking ´dream´ Root wicket|
|Jones makes nine England changes as Simmonds starts at number eight|
|Robben: It could be over for me after this season|
|Newcastle Jets 4 Melbourne Victory 1: Nabbout at the double|
|Chawrasia leads from Fitzpatrick in Hong Kong|
|Vince revels in silencing the doubters|
|Happy Sanchez could win the Premier League for Arsenal, Lauren claims|
|Davis leads Australian Open as Spieth struggles in the wind|
|Halep tips Dimitrov for grand slam glory|
|The Ashes round-up: England falter after Vince and Stoneman half-centuries|
|Angered Neymar storms away from Real Madrid questions|
|Bayern played their worst ´for a long time´ - Boateng|
|Australia fight back on tight first day in Brisbane|
|Neymar form no surprise for Alves|
|Fiji ready for another mission impossible - Naiqama|
|Vince helps England continue fine start|
|Thunder roll as Westbrook goes off against Warriors, Cavs win|
|Kiwis would consider Bennett as coach|
|Meninga unhappy with Aussie preparations ahead of World Cup semi|
|Federer congratulates Basel after Man Utd scalp|
|Heat snap Celtics´ 16-game winning streak|
|Spurs star Leonard has unique issue, Popovich says|
|England steady after early Cook loss in Brisbane|
|Gremio 1 Lanus 0: Cicero gives Brazilians advantage in Libertadores final|
|Hazard: I admire Madrid, but I´m happy at Chelsea|
|Neuer or De Gea? Digne says Ter Stegen is world´s best keeper|
|Allegri satisfied with draw against ´extraordinary´ Barcelona|
|Nainggolan reaffirms Roma commitment after Simeone praise|
|Chiefs sign veteran CB Revis|
|England choose to bat as Warner, Marsh cleared to play for Australia|
|Beathard, not Garoppolo, named 49ers starter v Seahawks|
|Simeone hails Griezmann´s ´extraordinary´ volley|
|Emery hails Neymar after stunning Celtic win|
|Freeney joins Lions day after being cut by Seahawks|
|Championship Review: Wolves thrash 10-man Leeds, Middlesbrough cruise|
|Goncharenko delighted for clean sheet star Akinfeev|
|I hope Barcelona rest Messi – Jesus|
|Broncos name Lynch starting QB for Raiders game|
|Thiago suffered a serious injury, says Heynckes|
|Valverde explains decision to bench Messi|
|Coleman the latest to join Rebels revolution|
|LeBron: Defensive consistency key to Cavs winning streak|
|Bills revert to Tyrod Taylor as starting QB after Nathan Peterman disaster|
|Absent Stokes wishes England well|
|Iniesta hails ´splendid´ Ter Stegen as Barcelona seal last-16 spot|
|Griezmann shrugs off goalless streak after wonderstrike keeps Atletico´s hopes alive|
|We should have been 5-0 up – Mourinho unimpressed with wasteful United|
|Toure reveals Guardiola anger with City´s Feyenoord display|
|Warriors star Durant says he will play against Thunder|
|Paris Saint-Germain set Champions League scoring record in Celtic rout|
|Sporting CP 3 Olympiacos 1: Dost on target as hosts stay in contention|
|Bielsa suspended by struggling Lille|
|Anderlecht 1 Bayern Munich 2: Lewandowski and Tolisso give visitors win|