Italian Open: Svitolina upsets hurting Halep to win title

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

Elina Svitolina overcame a first-set loss to win her fourth title of the season.   -  AP

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina continued her brilliant season with a clinical 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 upset win over injury-hit Simona Halep in the Italian Open final on Sunday.

Svitolina advanced to her maiden Rome final on Saturday when Spanish semifinal 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 quarterfinals, showed she was fully deserving of her spot, overcoming a tough first set loss 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.

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