ROME: Former world number one Simona Halep on Monday won the women's singles title at the Italian Open, earning the win after defending champion and longtime rival Karolina Pliskova was forced to retire due to injury in the second set while trailing 0-6, 1-2 in the summit clash.
Halep, who had reached back-to-back finals in Rome back in 2017 and 2018, took the upper hand in the opening set, winning it 6-0. She emerged on top at the exchange of breaks early in the second set when the No.2 seed, who had taken a brief medical timeout between sets, bowed out after 32 minutes of play.
Pliskova had entered the match with a visibly wrapped left thigh and had to undergo treatment on her lower back and upper leg after the first set which she lost in just 20 minutes.
This was the 12th face off between Halep and Pliskova in their careers, and though the Romanian led the overall head-to-head prior to the final, it was Pliskova who had won three of their last four meetings.
Halep, who won the Prague Open title upon tour's resumption following the Covid-19 induced hiatus, is now on a 14-match winning streak. IANS