Italian Open: Halep defeats Garcia to meet Sharapova in the semi-finals

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World No.1 Simona Halep of Romania will stay at the top ranking for at least one more week, as she dispatched No.7 seed Caroline Garcia of France, 6-2, 6-3, on Friday night to reach the semi-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

“In my opinion, it was a good match,” Halep told the press, after the contest. “I just wanted to push [Garcia] back, and use good depth on the ball, and I think I did it pretty well. She made some mistakes, I got confident and I knew what I’d have to play against her, so I think I played a good level of tennis. ”

By going one round further than Caroline Wozniacki in Rome, Halep has guaranteed that she will remain at the top spot in the WTA rankings on Monday, which will certainly give her the No.1 seed at the French Open, the second Grand Slam event of the year, wtatennis.com informs.

“I knew before the match that I’d have to win to keep the No.1,” said Halep. “I’m really happy I was able to keep the No.1 by winning my own match, so it’s a nice feeling. I didn’t feel pressure, you could see that I played very relaxed. I’m not thinking that much about this anymore, but it’s nice to know that it’s for No.1.”

Last year’s Rome runner-up Halep took down Garcia for the fourth time in their five meetings, ousting the Frenchwoman in 73 minutes. Halep and Garcia were nearly equal in winners, but Garcia had 37 unforced errors, 17 more than the Romanian’s error count.

Halep will take on former World No.1 Maria Sharapova of Russia in a highly intriguing semi-final showdown. Sharapova overcame reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko earlier on Friday, in a three-hour and 11-minute barnburner, which was the longest match of the 2018 clay-court season thus far.

“I expect a tough one for sure, always it’s been tough against [Sharapova],” said Halep. “But I know I have my chance, so if I play my game, it will be a good match. I will try to do my best to win the match, but I don’t expect anything. I’m just going on court and giving my best. That’s what I want.”

Sharapova leads the head-to-head against Halep 7-1, including wins in the 2014 French Open final and the first round of the 2017 US Open. However, Halep won their most recent meeting, at the China Open last year. “I feel that the match is open, of course anyone can win, but I’m not thinking about the previous matches,” Halep continued. “I want to think about tomorrow’s match, and we will see.”

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