Elina Svitolina defeats Simona Halep to win Italian Open

Sheri Evans
May 23, 2017

Elina Svitolina reached the Rome final when Garbine Muguruza retired with a neck ailment on Saturday.

Earlier, Svitolina had ousted Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.

Svitolina will chase a fourth title of the year after trophy triumphs in Taiwan, Dubai and Istanbul.

"I feel very confident and coming from Madrid with the title makes me stronger on court, also mentally".

The 22-year-old has now placed herself among the favourites for the French Open, which starts next Sunday, with the field seemingly wide open in the absence of Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Though Halep hung on to win the first set, Svitolina eventually capitalized on her compromised opponent and forced a third set.

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"Hopefully we'll recover, me and Simona, because we're struggling a bit physically", she said.

Svitolina raced to a 5-0 lead in the final set before completing a Tour-leading 31st match win this year.

There was some fight from Bertens as she saved five set points in the opener - albeit with a slice of luck as the umpire and line judges noticed a wide first serve too late as she was trying to keep Halep at bay.

Muguruza found her game in time though, charging back against the ninth-seeded veteran to win six of the last seven games and take the match in just under one hour and 45 minutes.

She will now play Dutch 15th seed Kiki Bertens, who saw off Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-3, in Saturday's semi-final on the red Foro Italico clay. "I feel great and just want to keep playing and why not try to win this title", Eurosport quoted Halep as saying. "I want to say congrats to Simona, she played wonderful tennis". "It's really tough to stop because of the rain but here we are, I'm in the final and it's really nice".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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