Rome Masters: Svitolina beats Halep to claim 4th WTA Tour titles in 2017
French Open favourite Simona Halep suffered an injury scare as she gave up a position of control to dramatically lose the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia to Elina Svitolina.
The champion in Madrid last week, Halep seized the early advantage on Sunday and initially looked likely to extend her winning streak on clay with a degree of comfort.
However, the Romanian went over on her right ankle in a painful-looking fall towards the end of the first set and never appeared happy thereafter.
Despite falling a break down at the start of set two, Svitolina soon edged ahead and ultimately sauntered to a 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory as Halep cut a disconsolate figure in a one-sided decider.
Svitolina has now claimed four WTA Tour titles in 2017 to lead the Race to Singapore and the Ukrainian appears likely to be a contender herself at Roland Garros, with the field seemingly wide open in the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
Comeback complete!@ElinaSvitolina captures @InteBNLdItalia title!
Edges Halep 4-6, 7-5, 6-1! #ibi17 pic.twitter.com/RbVNW1U80A
— WTA (@WTA) May 21, 2017
With only a week to go until the main-draw action begins in Paris, Halep will hope she has not sustained significant damage to her ankle.
The world number four was dominant prior to her fall, which came when she led 5-2 in the opener.
Although her movement did not initially appear compromised either side of a visit from the trainer, Halep was soon guilty of increasingly frequent errors.
Svitolina came through a tense second set to level the match, despite also requiring brief treatment on an apparent groin problem.
And Halep then fell away badly in the final set, raising concerns over her fitness ahead of the French Open.