Simona Halep's LAST-POINT before Pliskova's retirement — WTA Rome

Finally I could win this’ Simona Halep clinches Italian Open as Karolina Pliskova retires injured

Simona Halep with the Italian Open trophy | AFP

"It's always a good feeling when I win against her".

"I love this tournament and I'm really happy to have this attractive trophy in my hand. I kept myself together and said, "Okay, let's start another battle in the second set".

"But I like also the court".

Second seed Pliskova overcame Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0 as she continued to impress after initially struggling when the WTA Tour returned in August. Halep applied two s in this match, while Muguruza could not apply a single s. Halep easily won the first set, but in the second set she lost to Muguruza.

Halep, a two-time runner-up at this tournament, was 5-1 up in the third set but was pegged back to 5-4, only for Muguruza to produce back-to-back double faults that handed her opponent the victory.

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 extended her winning streak this season to 14 consecutive victories.

The 2018 Roland Garros champion is not willing to burden herself with the weight of expectation despite her hugely impressive form.

"Disappointing for me to not finish today, but Simo, obviously too strong", said Pliskova. "I really want to be 100 per cent ready because if I want to go far in a Grand Slam, that's two weeks of tennis. So I don't plan for a specific match, because you never know on court".

"It's going to be super tough because she's fighting hard, won the tournament in Prague and is into the final here".

In the men's semifinals later, it's top-ranked Novak Djokovic against Casper Ruud of Norway and eighth-seeded Diego Schwartzman against 12th-seeded Denis Shapovalov.

The Serb, a four-time victor, is now tied on 35 Masters crowns with Rafael Nadal, who fell in the quarter-finals last week to Schwartzman.

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