World No 2 Simona Halep clinched her 13th win on the trot as she defeated Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours 14 minutes in the semi-final of the Italian Open on Sunday.
Halep had won the Dubai WTA event before the tour was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and won her first tournament back at the Prague Open. Though she missed the US Open swing, the Romanian is getting into gear for the French Open.
The No.1 seed defeats Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a truly enthralling encounter. pic.twitter.com/6SpXNxq8tg
— wta (@WTA) September 20, 2020
Playing in front of a handful of spectators – the tournament will allow up to 1000 spectators for the semi-finals and finals—Halep dominated in the first set.
Muguruza had fought off a spirited challenge from US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinal on Saturday and was slow to start. She took a medical timeout to attend to a lower back problem after the opening set.
But the big-hitting Spaniard survived a see-saw battle in the second, levelling up at 4-4. After two errors from Halep saw her lose her serve, Muguruza served out the set at love to force a decider.
Both players were made to work hard to protect their serve. While Halep saved eight of the 15 break points she faced, Muguruza saved nine of 18, taking the total breaks of serve in the match to 16.
In the third set, even though the 26-year-old Muguruza clawed back from 1-5 down to 4-5, she struggled again on her serve in the 10th game. She served two double faults, taking her tally for the match up to eight, to concede serve.
Halep won the battle of the former French Open champions to make the final of the Italian Open for the third time. She will next face either Karolina Pliskova or Marketa Vondrousova as she bids for a maiden title in Rome.