Tennis: Simona Halep rallies past Garbine Muguruza to reach third Italian Open final

Simona Halep (left) touches racquets with Garbine Muguruza as she celebrates her victory at Foro Italico in Rome, on Sept 20, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

Rome (AFP) - Top seed Simona Halep ousted Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in three sets to advance to her third final at the Italian Open on Sunday (Sept 20), played on front of a small number of spectators for the first time.

The Romanian dropped her second set on clay in Rome before seeing off Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a battle of former French Open champions before Roland Garros in a week's time.

Halep - the 2018 French Open winner - will next play either Czech defending champion Karolina Pliskova, the second seed, or Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the final.

The Wimbledon champion, 28, has finished runner-up in her two previous finals at the Foro Italico in 2017 and 2018.

Ninth seed Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion, fell to her fourth semi-final defeat in Rome, the furthest she has gone in the tournament.

World No. 2 Halep extended her winning streak this season to 13 consecutive victories.

She won the Dubai title in February, before the coronavirus lockdown, coming back to claim victory in Prague last month after having skipped the US Open.

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