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Simona Halep defeats Kiki Bertens to reach Italian Open final

Simona Halep secured her berth in the Italian Open final after beating Kiki Bertens in the semifinal.

tennis Updated: May 20, 2017 18:33 IST
Simona Halep,Kiki Bertens,Italian Open
Simona Halep returns the ball against Kiki Bertens at the Italian Open.(REUTERS)

Romania’s Simona Halep reached her first WTA final at the Italian Open on Saturday after sweeping Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 7-5, 6-1 in their semi-final clash.

Halep, the number six seed who reached the semi-finals in the Italian capital in 2013 and 2015, will now meet the winner of the other semi-final between Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina.

Muguruza, the defending French Open champion, ended American Venus Williams’ run on Friday while Ukrainian eighth seed Svitolina stunned Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova.

READ | Garbine Muguruza beats Venus Williams to reach Italian Open semifinals

Heavy downpours and storms in the Italian capital which began on Friday night mean organisers are playing catch-up in a bid to bring the event to a close by Sunday.

Serbian second seed Novak Djokovic, a four-time champion, took a one-set lead over quarter-final opponent Juan del Potro of Argentina.

But their quarter-final match has yet to be completed after play was halted with Del Potro leading 2-1 in the second set.

READ | Sania Mirza-Yaroslava Shvedova storm into Italian Open semis

Despite thunderstorms and heavy rain throughout the night the bad weather finally abated at midday (1000 GMT), prompting organisers to announce: “We’re working hard to start as soon as possible.”

The first men’s semi-final is between 20-year-old German starlet Alexander Zverev and big-serving American John Isner.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who sent seven-time champion Rafael Nadal crashing out in their quarter-final, is set to face the winner of the Djokovic-Del Potro quarter-final later in the day.

First Published: May 20, 2017 18:29 IST