Defending Champion Simona Halep Unfortunately Retires Mid-Match at Italian Open 2021 Against Angelique Kerber

Published 05/12/2021, 1:21 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Romania’s Simona Halep looks dejected after her quarter final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Former world number one and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep is yet to make her mark on the WTA Tour this year. The Romanian is yet to win a title this year and the Italian Open presents a perfect opportunity for her to make a winning statement ahead of the French Open.

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Halep played against the German tennis player Angelique Kerber in the second round in Rome. Kerber, who is struggling over the past couple of years to win a tour-level title failed to make an impact against the Romanian.

Tennis – WTA 500 – Stuttgart Open – Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany – April 23, 2021, Romania’s Simona Halep in action during her quarter final match against Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova Pool via REUTERS/Marijan Murat
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Let’s see how the match progressed.

Simona Halep dominated the first set against Kerber

Halep started the match with a commanding 2-0 lead over the German. Kerber broke the Romanian’s serve immediately but lost the next service game. Since then, Halep turned on the attack and didn’t give any chance to the German to crawl back into the set.

With the right use of variety, the Romanian managed to keep Kerber running from corner to corner, and forced her to make repetitive errors.

Even though Halep was not serving at her best, her groundstrokes and return winners caused enough trouble for the German. It was a lop-sided affair as the 2019 Wimbledon champion created dismantled Kerber and took the first set 6-1.

Kerber made 12 unforced errors in the first set while Halep just made 5, which proves her consistency on-court. Halep’s first serve percentage stood at 58. Even though Kerber made close to 70% of her first serves in, her inability to capitalize on break point opportunities and the dozen unforced errors cost her the set.

Halep had to retire from the match midway owing to a calf injury

The Romanian dominated the second set much like the first and got an early break of 2-1. It was when Kerber stepped up her game and broke Halep’s serve.

The match was leveled at 3-3 in the set when Halep began to feel uneasy owing to a calf injury. The Romanian clearly struggled to move, and the trainer entered the court to check on her.

Unable to move, Halep decided to withdraw from the match. The Romanian was clearly dominating the match before an unexpected injury turned up.

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The German stood by Halep as the latter was struggling to cope with pain. True sportsmanship on display from Kerber as she carried both her bag and that of Halep’s as the players walked out from the arena.

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The German will play Jelena Ostapenko in the third round of the Italian Open tomorrow.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

388 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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