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Italian Open 2020 – Women’s Singles Final – Simona Halep vs Karolina Pliskova

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Italian Open 2020 – Women’s Singles Final – Simona Halep vs Karolina Pliskova
(Image Source: Twitter) Italian Open 2020 Women’s Singles winner Simona Halep and runner-up Karolina Pliskova

Two very different types of players went up against each other in the Women’s Final of the Italian Open 2020. Simona Halep, the tenacious player, faced Karolina Pliskova, who has a more stand and deliver approach. Halep and Pliskova had played each other 11 times before the Italian Open, and Halep had won 7 of those encounters. The former world number 1 had the added advantage of playing on her beloved clay.

Simona Halep had already been on this stage twice before, both times ending in heartbreak. She finished as the runner up in Rome in 2017 and 2018. One can understand if she had any extra determination to do well in this tournament. Halep came to Rome on the back of a successful Prague Open. She beat Elise Mertens to claim the title in Prague, having dropped just 2 sets in her 5 matches.

Karolina Pliskova came into the tournament on the back of a failed US Open campaign. She was eliminated in the second round by Caroline Garcia in straight sets. The Czech player was certainly looking for some redemption here and maybe even back to back titles in Rome.

Also Read: Italian Open 2020 – Men’s Singles Final – Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwartzman

Path to the Final of Halep and Pliskova

Both Halep and Pliskova came up against one big challenger each on their way to the Final. But their path to the Final was fairly smooth. The top 2 seeds proved just how good they were as they dropped just one set each until the Final.

Simona Halep

Simona Halep won the Women's Singles Italian Open 2020 title.
(Image Source: Twitter) Simona Halep won the Women’s Singles Italian Open 2020 title beating Karolina Pliskova

Halep faced one major hurdle on her way to the Final. She had to play a lengthy 3 set match against Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the semi-final. Halep impressed in the first set which ended 6-3 in her favour, with three breaks of serve, one of which came in the very first game of the match. The Romanian went up a break in the second set as well, but Muguruza fought back and took the second set 6-4. Halep raced to a 4-0 lead in the third set, but Muguruza refused to go away. She fought back and took the score to 5-4 in the third set, but lost her crucial service game to concede the set 6-4 in favour of Halep. Halep’s road to the Final was as follows:

Round of 32: defeated Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-4

Round of 16: defeated Dayana Yastremska 7-5, 6-4

Quarter Final: defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 2-0 (walkover)

Semi Final: defeated Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova into the finals at Italian Open 2020 Simona Halep
(Image Source: Twitter) Karolina Pliskova into the finals at Italian Open 2020 to compete against Simona Halep

Pliskova had some well-known faces in her half of the draw but only Elise Mertens managed to cause her any trouble. Pliskova’s quarter final game against Mertens went to 3 sets, but she proved her mettle in the third, taking 6 games back to back. Her road to the Final was as follows:

Round of 32: defeated Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-3

Round of 16: defeated Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-3

Quarter Final: defeated Elise Mertens 6-3, 3-6, 6-0

Semi Final: defeated Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 6-4

 

How the match progressed- Halep vs Pliskova

Halep won 6 games on the trot to win the first set in just 20 minutes. The second set began with both players breaking each other’s serve, but Pliskova had to call it a day after the third game. Halep won the Final 6-0, 2-1 as a walkover because of Pliskova’s injury. The 2019 winner of the Italian Open had developed an injury, which she later said she could feel by the end of her semi-final game. In her post match press conference, Pliskova said that the pain had significantly increased the night before and on the morning of the Final. Despite receiving medical treatment in between the two sets, she could not carry on playing.

Halep said in her post match press conference that she is looking forward to playing the French Open. Natural, given her unbeaten record on clay this year. Pliskova informed the press that she is hopeful of playing in the French Open in a week’s time but will wait for medical clearance.

In the aftermath of the Italian Open, it came to light that the prize money for the Women’s Champion is €10 less than that of the Men’s Champion. This rather symbolic gesture reveals a larger problem than just unequal pay. It was a shame that such a wonderful and well known sporting event had to end in such a way.

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