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Halep holds off late fightback from Muguruza to reach Rome final
The Romanian outlasted the Spaniard in a grueling three-setter to extend her winning streak to 13 matches in a row and reach the final of Rome for the third time in her career.
September 20, 2020
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World No. 2 Simona Halep held off a pair of late surges from fellow former No. 1 Garbine Muguruza on Sunday afternoon to reach the final of the Premier 5 event in Rome for the third time in her career.
A rock solid Halep looked to be cruising early on against a somewhat erratic Muguruza, building a 6-3, 4-2 lead, but the Spaniard won four games in a row to level it at a set apiece. And after Halep once again surged ahead in the third set, 5-1, Muguruza came alive again, bringing it back to 5-4.
But the Spaniard fell behind 15-30 while serving to stay in the match at 4-5, and back-to-back double faults on the next two points—her seventh and eighth of the day—gave Halep a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win.
Both players finished with an almost even differential of winners to unforced errors: Halep 21 to 22, Muguruza 35 to 37. Halep won just three more points than Muguruza in the match, 97 to 94.
With Saturday’s win, Halep extended her winning streak to 13 matches in a row, having gone 4-0 to win Dubai in February, 5-0 to win Prague in August and 4-0 so far in Rome this week. Her last loss on the tour came in the semifinals of the Australian Open in January to her opponent today, Muguruza.
The Romanian will be looking for her first title in the Italian capital, having finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina in both of her previous finals: 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the 2017 final and 6-0, 6-4 in the 2018 final.
In the 2020 final on Monday, Halep will play the winner of the all-Czech semifinal between Karolina Pliskova and Marketa Vondrousova. She’s 7-4 against Pliskova but 0-2 against Vondrousova.