DUBAI // On the eve of their semi-finals match-up, both Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci had claimed it would be mentally tough to face each other from the opposite sides of the net.
It showed in their performances on Friday at the Aviation Club.
Close friends and the world's top doubles pair, the Italians struggled to find the kind of intensity usually associated with a last-four game as Errani romped into the final with a lopsided 6-3, 6-3 win.
"It's very tough because we know each other very well," Errani, the world No 7, said after reaching her second final of the year. "It's not only a match that I just see normally and say, 'Try to play your game.' It's tension. It's tough. It's tough to play against one person who knows what you're going to do in every shot."
Errani in the past year has made dramatic strides into the upper echelon of the women's game, reaching the final of the French Open last year, and the semi-finals of the US Open. Four of her six championships came in 2012.
Vinci, a 30 year old who is the No 1-ranked doubles player (to Errani's No 2), said nerves made it even more difficult for her.
"I was nervous in the beginning, but also in the second set," Vinci said. "If you play more relaxed, you can play much better. If you are tight and with a lot of tension, it's difficult to play.
"[It] is not easy to play against her, for me. It's not like when you play Sam [Stosur] or another player. You play more relaxed. But I think she played a good game today; she missed probably two or three balls."
Vinci, however, was happy with her overall performance in Dubai, with victories over two top-10 players - the No 9 Samantha Stosur and the No 6 Angelique Kerber.
"For sure, I'm happy, I played an unbelievable tournament," she said.
"Now I'm a little bit sad [about the loss], but in a few hours I will be better."
And she will even join Errani for dinner.
"But in a few hours … not now," Vinci said.
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE