Simona Halep won the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Sunday after her opponent in the final, Karolina Pliskova retired mid-match with an injury to her left thigh. At the time of Pliskova’s withdrawal, Halep led the score 6-0, 2-1.
Halep started the match on a dominating note even as Pliskova looked to be struggling on the other side of the net. The Czech, who had entered the final looking to defend her 2019 Rome title, played a lackadaisical opening set in which she hit no winners.
Although the second set looked to be marginally better for the world no. 4 as she broke Halep right back after getting broken the opening game of the set, she went down a second break in the third game. Pliskova decided not to continue the match right after.
After the match, Pliskova who had entered the court with her thigh taped, spoke about her injury. She said, “I hope to be ready for Roland Garros. There's still a week, so I think that's plenty of time. I could possibly play on Sunday, but within a few days, I hope they will help.
I have to see a doctor make sure it's not too severe of an injury. I think it's from playing so many tough matches in a row. Even if they weren't all three-set matches, they were still on clay, which is quite a fast switch from hardcourts.
The sliding and running in the last two matches, I began to feel it against Mertens and it grew with every day. Had yesterday's (semi-final) match (gone) three sets, I thought it would have been very difficult for me”.
Internazionali BNL d'Italia: Simona Halep clinches third title in 2020
She added, “Overnight, it started to really not feel good, and so I was thinking about whether I should play at all. You want to go and try, though it probably didn't look so good.
Huge credit to Simona, though, because against anyone else, maybe it would have been possible, but she doesn't give you much for me, so I would have had to be 100%”. For Halep, it meant she had won her first title at the Foro Italico on her third attempt in the finals.
The Romanian had previously lost two successive finals to Elina Svitolina in 2017-18. This is Halep’s 22nd career title and entering the French Open, the former world no. 1 is on a 14-match winning streak. After her title run at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Simona Halep shared with the press, “I've finally won it.
I love this tournament, and I play well here almost every year - besides last year, of course. I started my rise up the rankings at this tournament in 2013, so I've always dreamed of having this title. I'm really happy that it happened today”. Photo Credit: Internazionali BNL d'Italia Twitter