No. 1 seed Halep, No. 2 Pliskova to meet in Rome final

9/20/2020 2:29:42 PM EST

No. 1 seed Simona Halep of Romania will face No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in Monday's final at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

Halep brings a 13-match winning streak into the match, including a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory in Sunday's semifinals over No. 9 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Pliskova, the clay-court tournament's defending champion, advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 win over countrywoman and No. 12 seed Marketa Vondrousova.

Halep owns a 7-4 edge in head-to-head meetings with her fellow former World No. 1, but Pliskova has won the past two meetings and three of the past four.

A limited number of spectators were allowed at the Foro Italico for the semifinals, the first time fans have been on hand since the WTA Tour resumed from the coronavirus hiatus.

They saw Halep battle for two hours and 14 minutes before dispatching Muguruza.

"She's a very, very difficult player and a good player," Halep said of Muguruza. "It's always a good feeling when I win against her.

"I feel confident now that I was able to win this match. I know I had so many chances to maybe finish it a little bit faster and easier, but as we saw, she doesn't give up. I'm happy that I was a little bit stronger and that I was more aggressive when I needed to be."

Halep, the runner-up in Rome in 2017 and 2018, and Muguruza combined for 16 service breaks. Both players won fewer than 50 percent of their service points. Halep had the match's only two aces, while Muguruza double-faulted eight times.

Halep jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the deciding set before hanging on for the victory.

"I really want to win this title, but it's always tough," Halep said.

Pliskova booked her return to the Rome final with an 83-minute win. She tallied six aces, 23 winners and 21 unforced errors, and converted five of her 13 break chances. Vondrousova took advantage of just two of seven break chances.

Pliskova is coming off a disappointing second-round loss as the top seed at the U.S. Open.

"It's going to be super tough because she's fighting hard, won the tournament in Prague and is into the final here," she said of Halep. "It's never going to be easy against her, no matter the tournament, but it's going to be a great final."

--Field Level Media


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