Photo: Internazionali BNL d’Italia
Top seed Simona Halep claimed her first Italian Open title at the third time of asking after defending champion Karolina Pliskova was forced to retire to due injury during Monday’s final with the score at 6-0, 2-1. Halep had reached consecutive finals in 2017 and 2018 but came up short to Elina Svitolina on both occasions.
Now, though, the Romanian has finally added the trophy to her cabinet.
Pliskova, seeded second, entered the match with her left thigh wrapped, hinting at what would eventually call the match to a premature close. Halep, on the other hand, was high on confidence and performed supremely on her way to claiming the first set 6-0.
Heading into this contest, the Romanian led the head to head between the two players 7-4 – but Pliskova had claimed victory in three of their previous four meetings, including their most recent match on clay.
Halep reached the final following a battling 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, while Pliskova had overcome 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova convincingly 6-2, 6-4.
However, unfortunately, it soon became clear that the Czech would be unable to continue in the final. At the end of the first set, she visited with the physio and just 32 minutes into the match was forced to retire, despite having done well to win her first game at the start of the second set by breaking Halep’s serve.
The victory will serve Halep, a two-time Rogers Cup presented by National Bank champion, well heading into Roland-Garros, an event she won in 2018, next week as the clay court season continues in the French capital.