Breaking: Halep powers into Italian Open semis


Top seed Simona Halep took the first semifinal berth at the Italian Open on Saturday when Kazakh rival Yulia Putintseva retired during their match on Saturday.

The world number two was leading 6-2, 2-0 in the quarterfinal clash on clay in Rome when Putintseva signalled that she was retiring after 45 minutes of play with a lower back injury.

Putintseva, ranked 30, had reached the quarterfinals of the recent hard court US Open, a tournament which Halep skipped because of coronavirus concerns.

Halep next meets either Belarussian Victoria Arazenka or Spaniard Garbine Muguruza for a place in the final of the clay-court tournament.

It is the fifth time that former French Open champion Halep has reached the last four in Rome.

The Wimbledon champion was runner-up to Elina Svitolina in 2017 and 2018 finals.

Matches from Sunday’s semifinals will be played in front of 1,000 spectators with the action up to now in front of empty stands at the Foro Italico.

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