Tennis

Slick Svitolina upsets hurt Halep to win Rome title

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina continued her brilliant season with a clinical 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 upset over injury-hit Simona Halep in last night's Italian Open final.

Svitolina, 22, advanced to her maiden Rome final on Saturday when Spanish semi-final opponent Garbine Muguruza, the French Open champion, retired injured as she trailed 4-1 to the big-hitting Ukrainian.

But Svitolina, who ousted Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals, showed she was fully deserving of her spot, overcoming a tough first set against the sixth-seeded Romanian to level the match in a fiercely contested second set.

Halep, who won the Madrid Open last week, needed treatment after going over on her right ankle in the second set as she hit a return from the baseline.

In the decider, the Romanian - who had won 26 of her past 30 meetings on clay - was visibly hurting and was helpless to prevent Svitolina from claiming her fourth title of the season after wins in Taipei, Dubai and Istanbul.

Svitolina now has a Tour-leading 31 match wins this year and takes over the lead from Pliskova in the Race to Singapore. - AFP

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