Simona Halep has confirmed she has tested positive for coronavirus.

The world number two is isolating at home after developing mild symptoms of the virus.

"Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know that I tested positive for COVID-19," Halep wrote on Twitter.

"I am self-isolating at home and am recovering well from mild symptoms. I feel good... we will get through this together."

Halep has not played since an emphatic 6-1 6-2 defeat to eventual champion Iga Swiatek in the round-of-16 at the French Open.

The 29-year-old, who did not compete at the US Open, won three consecutive Tour titles straddling the break in the season caused by the pandemic.

The rescheduled Linz Open, the only Tour event taking place in November following the cancellation of the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, is due to begin on November 8.

Elina Svitolina's quest for a first grand slam title was significantly boosted on Sunday as she reached the French Open quarter-finals and saw Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens both bow out.

Svitolina was the only top-five seed in action not to lose as she defeated home hope Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-3 to book a last-eight date with Nadia Podoroska, who was a 2-6 6-2 6-3 victor against Barbora Krejcikova.

In Svitolina's half of the draw, top seed Halep was surprisingly beaten 6-1 6-2 by Iga Swiatek and Bertens – ranked fifth at Roland Garros – suffered a 6-4 6-4 loss to Martina Trevisan. 

There are now just three of the top 10 seeds in the women's draw still alive in Paris, and third seed Svitolina is the highest-ranked player left.

 

SVITOLINA NOT FOCUSING ON EXODUS OF SEEDS

Svitolina will be hoping it is third time lucky in the French Open quarter-finals after reaching this stage again, as she previously did in 2015 and 2017.

The pressure may increase on the Ukrainian given how many seeds have already been eliminated, but the 26-year-old is trying not to pay attention to the rest of the draw.

"Of course, I'm the highest seed left, but no one is going to give me the trophy just because I'm the highest left," Svitolina said.

"So, I have to work for it. I try to not look so much ahead."

HALEP SEEKS COMFORT IN CHOCOLATE 

Halep had not dropped a set prior to her fourth-round encounter with Swiatek, but she was stunned by the Pole, who lost only three games in reaching her first grand slam quarter-final.

However, the Romanian – the French Open champion in 2018 – was keen to take solace in a sweet treat afterwards.

"I'm not going to ruin the whole year just for a match," Halep said.

"Of course, it's not easy to take it, but I'm used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow."

 

BERTENS: OUTSIDERS HAVING THEIR MOMENT

There was an even bigger shock on Suzanne-Lenglen as Bertens suffered a straight-sets defeat to world number 159 Trevisan.

Bertens was asked to explain the number of surprising results across both the men's and women's draws, and the Dutchwoman suggested the lack of preparation for the leading players was a factor.

"No one really has played a lot," she claimed.

"I think then you can see that everything can happen in a tournament like this."

Simona Halep planned to console herself with chocolate after suffering an emphatic defeat to teenager Iga Swiatek in the fourth round of the French Open.

Unseeded 19-year-old Swiatek gained sweet revenge for a hammering at the hands of Halep at the same stage of the tournament last year, demolishing the top seed 6-1 6-2 on Sunday.

The Polish player blew away the two-time grand slam champion with an astonishing performance on Court Philippe-Chatrier to reach her first major quarter-final.

Halep had won a career-best 17 consecutive matches, but the Roland Garros favourite offered no excuses after Swiatek – who will face unheralded Italian Martina Trevisan in the last eight - gave the Romanian food for thought in Paris.

"I realise that it was a fantastic year with all the tough moments that we all had, so I'm not going to ruin the whole year just for a match," Halep said.

"Of course it's not easy to take it, but I'm used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow."

The 2018 champion was full of praise for her teenage opponent, who barely put a foot wrong in a powerful performance.

Halep said: "All the credit to her, she played unbelievable today and she was everywhere and she hit all the balls in very strong, very powerful.

"It was a little bit cold and I couldn't be at my best, but, yeah, she played really well and it was her match today."

HaIep, who skipped the recent US Open, confirmed she will play in the Australian Open next season.

Assessing Swiatek's game, she added: "I knew she was going to be aggressive. I knew that she's playing this way.

"Today it worked really well for her, every ball. She was very confident, she was powerful, so it was a great match for her."

Unseeded teenager Iga Swiatek thrashed French Open favourite Simona Halep to reach her first grand slam quarter-final at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Halep beat Swiatek 6-1 6-0 at the same stage of the Paris major last year, but the world number 54 from Poland gained sweet revenge with a magnificent 6-1 6-2 victory on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Two-time grand slam champion Halep had won a career-best 17 consecutive matches, but she was bulled by the inspired 19-year-old, who hit 30 winners and did not face a break point in a stunning performance.

Swiatek's reward for a relentless display will be a last-eight showdown with outsider Martina Trevisan or Kiki Bertens in Paris, where the seeds continue to crash out in a women's draw that is wide open.

The aggressive Swiatek made a blistering start, winning the first three games as she pummelled Halep with thunderous groundstrokes - her forehand in particular firing on all cylinders.

Halep had no answer to the relentless Warsaw native, who went 5-1 up with an exquisite drop shot and wrapped up the opening set in just 24 minutes.

Swiatek showed no let-up at the start of the second set, breaking in the first game and unleashing more rasping forehands in a lengthy fifth game before Halep netted at full stretch to go 4-1 down after saving five break points.

Halep was shellshocked and Swiatek completed an astonishing demolition of the 2018 champion, serving out a one-sided match with nerves of steel.

Simona Halep is playing free of pressure despite becoming an even stronger favourite to win the French Open in the first week of the tournament.

The 2018 champion arrived at Roland Garros rated as the most likely victor, a status that has been enhanced by three comfortable wins along with the exit of second seed Karolina Pliskova and the withdrawal of Serena Williams due to injury.

The latest of Halep's comfortable victories - her 17th consecutive in a row on the WTA Tour - came as she thrashed Amanda Anisimova 6-0 6-1 in just 54 minutes on Friday, avenging her quarter-final defeat to the American last year.

Next she faces Iga Swiatek in round four, a player she beat comprehensively at the same stage in 2019, but despite increasingly being tipped to go all the way, the Romanian feels no extra strain.

"No, I don't [feel more responsibility] and I don't feel the pressure," she said when asked about the huge expectations on her and Rafael Nadal, the favourite in the men's singles.

"Of course I expect from myself to play good tennis, because I feel good, I feel the game, I feel fit, I feel stronger on my body. 

"But doesn't mean I have to win every match. Important thing for me is just to deliver what I have best in the day that I play, and then we'll see. 

"I'm not thinking about the result. I just want to try to take my chance every time I step on the court, and I'm not thinking about title. It's very far, and many players are playing really well in the draw. So no expectations about that."

Swiatek booked the fourth-round clash with Halep by winning 6-2 6-3 against Eugenie Bouchard.

 

HOME HOPE GARCIA BEATS MERTENS IN THRILLER

Sixteenth seed Elise Mertens looked like she was on course for the fourth round until she was beaten by a superb comeback from Caroline Garcia.

Garcia delighted French fans on Court Philippe-Chatrier, hitting 38 winners to triumph 1-6 6-4 7-5.

"It was a great feeling out there - especially the match was a big fight in the second and third sets," said Garcia.

"So to be able to live this kind of moment... first of all, because we didn't know what was going to happen, so to be able to play French Open it's a great feeling - and to have some crowd to be able to share it with, it's even more special.

"Especially as they were really cheering for me. And I think Elise lived the moment like me."

 

SVITOLINA AND BERTENS CRUISE THROUGH, SAKKARI STUNNED

Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens needed just the two sets to seal their places in round four.

Third seed Svitolina will face Garcia after she overcame Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 7-5 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen as she eyes a maiden grand slam title.

Svitolina won despite hitting just eight winners to 30 unforced errors, while Alexandrova had 25 winners and 49 unforced errors across two scrappy sets for both players.

Bertens, the fifth seed, sent Katerina Siniakova packing 6-2 6-2 Court Philippe-Chatrier, but Maria Sakkari failed to make it into the second week.

The 159th-ranked Martina Trevisan caused an upset by ousting Sakkari, saving two match points before winning 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Simona Halep avenged her 2019 French Open defeat to Amanda Anisimova as she surged into the last 16 at Roland Garros with a third-round rout.

The 2018 winner saw her defence ended by the 19-year-old American in the quarter-finals last year, but the reigning Wimbledon champion was a class above in Friday's encounter.

She needed just 54 minutes on Philippe-Chatrier to progress to the fourth round, the 6-0 6-1 scoreline underlining her dominance.

Her quest for a third grand slam title next sees Halep face a tricky test in Iga Swiatek, the Polish teenager through to the fourth round for the second successive year after seeing off Eugenie Bouchard.

After breaking in the first game, Halep immediately had to stave off five break points to maintain her advantage.

It proved the pivotal moment in the contest, Halep cruising thereafter as Anisimova struggled to find any consistency with her groundstrokes.

She was shut out in the first set, which Halep clinched with some excellent serving, though Anisimova did manage to stop the rot to start the second.

Halep's movement and weaponry proved far too much for Anisimova, who had an air of resignation on the second match point when she sent a volley into the tramlines after excellent defence from the Romanian.

Speaking on court afterwards, Halep said her performance was a birthday present for coach Darren Cahill.

"I knew from last year that I had to change something," she said. "It's a gift for Darren because it's his birthday today so happy birthday, Darren."

The meeting with Swiatek is a rematch of last year's last-16 clash, which Halep won 6-1 6-0.

"I played against her before here, she is hitting very strong and very flat, it's going to be similar to today," added Halep.

Simona Halep took a confident step through to the French Open third round to set up a Roland Garros rematch against Amanda Anisimova.

Top seed Halep beat her fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-4 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, extending a career win-loss record to 8-0 against her countrywoman.

Halep did not have it all her own way, with Begu recovering from an early break in the second set to get back on terms, but there was no real cause for concern for the 2018 Roland Garros champion.

She broke again in the ninth game and served out to set up a clash in the last 32 with American teenager Anisimova, who caused a huge shock by beating Halep, who was defending her title, in the quarter-finals last year.

Two-time slam champion Halep, who came into the tournament fresh from winning the Internazionali d'Italia, and 19-year-old Anisimova have only played each other on that one occasion, so their reunion on the Paris clay promises to be unmissable.

The presence of Serena Williams in Halep's side of the draw had suggested a tantalising semi-final may have been in store, with the veteran American chasing a 24th grand slam title.

But news on Wednesday in Paris of Williams' injury-enforced withdrawal from the tournament means that will no longer be a distraction and she can remain entirely focused on the challenge posed by Anisimova.

Halep has now won a career-high 16 consecutive matches since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open semi-finals, collecting titles in Dubai, Prague and Rome along the way.

Data slam: Halep rallies behind first-serve factor

The 5ft 6in Halep will never possess the most fearsome serve in the game, given her height, and a fastest delivery of 103 miles per hour in this contest - in the closing game - was hardly one built to intimidate.

But Halep makes the most of her delivery, and she has been landing first serves well so far in Paris, meaning her weaker second delivery has not often been a factor.

She put 80 per cent of first serves into play in this contest, and won the point from 29 of those successful 39 deliveries for a healthy 74 per cent share.

Winning five of seven points at the net also helped Halep make smooth progress.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Halep - 15/14
Begu - 22/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Halep - 2/1
Begu - 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Halep - 4/10
Begu - 2/2

Birthday girl Simona Halep described her French Open first-round victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo as "the perfect present".

Fresh from winning the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, Halep arrived in Paris as favourite and top seed for the final grand slam of the year.

And she marked her 29th birthday with a 6-4 6-0 triumph under the new roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

"The perfect present was that I won, of course," said the 2018 champion. "It was a really special day playing on Roland Garros on my birthday, so it's going to be pretty unique maybe forever.

"I cannot celebrate much, because I have to stay in the room, so I will have a bottle of water.

"I will speak with my very close ones and loved ones. Just that. Nothing special. After the tournament, I will [celebrate properly]."

While Halep, who now faces compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu, had the luxury of an enclosed arena the cold weather outside caused issues for others on a day that saw Venus Williams make an early exit.

AZA-BRRR-ENKA

It was a chilly day in the French capital and few people were more bothered by the conditions than Victoria Azarenka, who donned a jacket and leggings for her match with Danka Kovinic. 

The former world number one triumphed 6-1 6-2 but she left the court three games into the first set claiming it was "too cold", a consequence of the tournament taking place four months later than planned.

"I think my opponent first of all slipped in the third game, so I think she was also feeling a little bit uncomfortable," said Azarenka.

"And I just asked like when my grip is getting wet in between points, are we going to still continue to play?

"And then [the official] told me that if I'm willing to wait a little bit longer while the drizzle stops, because the rain was supposed to increase, and I said absolutely not because I don't see a point of sitting on the court when it's eight degrees.

"I at the same time asked my opponent if she wants to wait on the court or she wants to go off court, and she said she doesn't want to wait on the court.

"So, I'm not going to waste my time sitting there and getting cold."

KONTA DUMPED OUT BY GAUFF

Coco Gauff dumped out ninth seed Johanna Konta as the 16-year-old produced a fine display.

Gauff came through in straight sets, beating the Briton 6-3 6-3 to secure a second-round showdown with qualifier Martina Trevisan.

It constitutes a shock premature departure for Konta, who reached the semi-finals in 2019.

VENUS DONE WITH 2020

Venus Williams declaring she is "done" with 2020 is a statement with which many will be able to identify.

The American veteran, a 2002 finalist at this slam, was beaten 6-4 6-4 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who will now face Azarenka.

Asked if she had any plays to play again this year, the 40-year-old replied: "I'm going home from here. I'm done. If there is somewhere to play, I won't be there."

One player who will have at least one more match this year is Eugenie Bouchard, who overcame Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

Simona Halep eventually warmed to her French Open task as she won her opening match on a chilly first Sunday at Roland Garros.

Under the new roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier and on her 29th birthday, title favourite Halep stumbled through the opening stages before pulling away to beat Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-0.

From 4-2 behind in the opening set, after three consecutive breaks, Halep won 10 straight games to reach the second round of a tournament at which she won her first grand slam title two years ago.

She landed 90 per cent of first serves in the second set, and struck 11 winners to five from her fading opponent.

Fresh from winning the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, Halep arrived in Paris as favourite and top seed for the final grand slam of the year.

The second set was a stroll against Sorribes Tormo, a player who had only won one match in three previous main-draw appearances at the clay-court slam.

Halep's early wobble may have been partly attributable to the unfamiliar conditions, with the temperature barely into double figures as the match began.

Because the tournament has been moved back from its usual May start amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Paris will feel quite different to the players in action over the 15-day tournament.

Romanian Halep paired a pink outfit with black leggings, and initially her tennis was as cold as the autumnal climate, but she predictably took control of matters and rolls on.

She was serenaded to mark her birthday by former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli during a post-match interview, with Halep hoping for more to celebrate in the coming fortnight.

Data slam: Erratic early, but Halep strengths shine through

Halep took charge of this contest once she cut down the unforced errors, which blighted her performance in the opening stages. She fired 12 winners in the opening set and 11 in the quickfire second, but the error count told the story of her improvement. After racking up 15 in the first set, Halep trimmed that number to a steadier eight in the second. She was clinical on her break-point opportunities, carving out nine and taking a healthy six of those.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Halep – 23/23
Sorribes Tormo – 10/16

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Halep – 1/0
Sorribes Tormo – 0/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Halep – 6/9
Sorribes Tormo – 2/4

Simona Halep is "honoured" to be the favourite to win the French Open and the top seed says that tag will not put extra pressure on her to regain the title.

Halep savoured a first grand slam triumph at Roland Garros in 2018 and went on to double her tally at Wimbledon last year.

The world number two has won back-to-back tournaments since returning to the WTA Tour following a six-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, her latest success coming at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome last weekend

Defending champion Ash Barty, the world number one, and US Open champion Naomi Osaka are among the absentees for what will be the final major of the year.

Halep, who plays Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round of her grand slam comeback after skipping the US Open, appears to be more concerned about the cold and rain in the French capital than being expected to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for a second time.

The Romanian said: "I'm honoured to hear that I am the favourite, people thinking that I'm the favourite. But I don't look in that way.

"I know that most of the players are favourite because everyone is working hard, everyone is ready for this tournament. So I'm not going into that too much. I just try to play my chance, try to play every match, and we will see how it is going to be in the end.

"It's not extra pressure [to be the favourite]. I'm used to this kind of pressure because I've been number one seeded in the past. I've been in this position. So, no, I take it in a right way, and I take it as a normal tournament. So no extra pressure."

She added: "I feel good. I feel confident. But you never know. So I will take day by day and I will try to give my best every day to get ready for the tournament."

Halep says it will be strange to play in the clay-court grand slam four months later than usual as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The 28-year-old said: "To play Roland Garros in September, end of September, it's a little bit weird. But it's nice that we have the chance to play at this tournament. We should thank everyone for fighting so hard to do it possible. Let's see now who is going to be ready for it."

"When it's cold, it's a little bit heavier and a little bit different. It's a big difference between Rome and here, that's for sure. Fifteen degrees less. I feel the cold. I feel like struggling a little bit. But it is the same for everybody."

US Open champion Dominic Thiem was dealt a difficult hand in an exciting men's French Open draw, while Serena Williams was handed a tough route in the women's competition.

Thiem finally ended his wait for a first major title in New York earlier this month, beating Alexander Zverev in a five-set epic after losing his prior three finals.

Two of those came in the most recent two French Open finals against Rafael Nadal, although there will be no repeat this year.

Thiem is in the bottom half of the draw along with Nadal, who starts against Egor Gerasimov, and has a tricky schedule right from the outset.

The Austrian has grand slam winner Marin Cilic in the first round, and Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka – two other former major champions – are potential fourth-round opponents as they begin against one another in an intriguing clash.

Nadal could have to tackle John Isner in the last 16, while Zverev is also in the bottom half of the draw.

World number one Novak Djokovic has Mikael Ymer up first and could meet Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals, having been defaulted from the US Open when facing the Spaniard – his only defeat of the year.

Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are in the top half, too.

Meanwhile, Williams, still bidding for a record-equalling 24th major title, is set to meet Victoria Azarenka in round four.

Azarenka came from a set down to beat Williams in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows before she was defeated in the championship match by Naomi Osaka, who is absent in France.

Defending champion Ash Barty and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu are also missing, while world number 10 Belinda Bencic withdrew shortly before the draw.

But Williams still faces a difficult task just to reach the final.

A potential victory over Azarenka in the last 16 could see the 38-year-old paired with third seed Elina Svitolina in the quarters, while top seed, world number two and 2018 champion Simona Halep is also in the same half.

Williams starts against Kristie Ahn, who she defeated in her US Open opener.

Kiki Bertens is in the same quarter as Halep, which sees arguably the pick of the first-round matches as Coco Gauff takes on Johanna Konta, last year's semi-finalist.

Marketa Vondrousova, beaten by Barty in the 2019 final, is a potential fourth-round opponent for Halep.

Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova are in the same section as former champion Jelena Ostapenko and Germany's Angelique Kerber, who could complete a career Grand Slam.

Garbine Muguruza, another previous winner, is in Sofia Kenin's quarter with Aryna Sabalenka.

Simona Halep is not putting any pressure on herself ahead of the French Open after Karolina Pliskova's retirement handed her the Internazionali d'Italia title.

Halep was leading the two-time defending champion 6-0 2-1 in Rome when Pliskova retired in tears because of injury.

The Czech called a medical timeout between sets and had treatment on her lower back and leg.

It is Halep's third consecutive title, with the two-time grand slam champion on a 14-match winning streak after a triumph that further solidifies her status as French Open favourite.

The 2018 Roland Garros champion is not willing to burden herself with the weight of expectation despite her hugely impressive form.

"It's just another tournament," Halep said. "I'm not going to put pressure on myself. I've played really well this year, with three titles already.

"I've played so much on clay, so I feel confident and happy that I'll have a chance to play another grand slam this year.

"I'm not going to let myself be bothered by things like the weather. I'll just be happy to take positives from this tournament and go there smiling.

"It's a dream for everyone to win the grand slam tournament from the first day, so it's my dream as well, but I'm not thinking that far.

"I just want to go there, get used to the courts and the atmosphere, and try to win every match I play. Every match is a battle, so I'll be ready for it."

Pliskova had won three of the previous four meetings with Halep but was full of appreciation for the Romanian after falling short this time around.

"Disappointing for me to not finish today, but Simo, obviously too strong," said Pliskova. 

"I always have to be 100 per cent to play a good match against you. Congratulations for the whole week. I think you deserve the title."

World number two Simona Halep extended her winning streak to 13 matches as she reached the final to delight the fans in attendance at the Internazionali d'Italia. 

Spectators were allowed at a WTA Tour event for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic suspended competitions, the Rome crowd witnessing Halep defeat Garbine Muguruza 6-3 4-6 6-4 in two hours and 14 minutes. 

Muguruza was the last woman to beat Halep, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, but she was unable to produce a repeat in Italy, where the Romanian will be hoping to add to the recent titles she won in Abu Dhabi and Prague either side of the break. 

Halep, a two-time runner-up at this tournament, was 5-1 up in the third set but was pegged back to 5-4, only for Muguruza to produce back-to-back double faults that handed her opponent the victory.

"The victory is really important against Muguruza, always," Halep said afterwards.

"She's a very, very difficult player and a good player. It's always a good vibe and feeling when I win against her.

"I feel confident now that I was able to win this match."

Next up for Halep is Karolina Pliskova after the defending champion overcame Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4.

Pliskova raced into a one-set lead against her fellow Czech, who was the runner-up at Roland Garros last year, but dropped her serve at the start of the second.

Vondrousova was unable to consolidate and paid the price for failing to stay in the rallies with the former world number one in the closing stages of a match that lasted one hour and 22 minutes. 

US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka lost a three-set thriller to Garbine Muguruza in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia to set up a meeting with top seed Simona Halep. 

Muguruza beat her fellow former world number one 3-6 6-3 6-4 after two hours and 19 minutes, having been one point away from falling 5-3 down in an entertaining decider at Foro Italico. 

The 2016 French Open winner managed to hold her serve on that occasion, then broke to love in the next game before going on to seal the match at the third attempt. 

"I think it was a tough match. I knew it was going to be a tough match. She's a good player, she's playing good, she's with a lot of confidence," said Muguruza. 

"I knew it was going to be a tough battle. I was ready for it. I stood behind her and was waiting for my opportunities. She was playing great at the beginning. She took the first set. I kept myself together and said, 'Okay, let's start another battle in the second set'."

Next up for Muguruza is two-time Rome finalist Halep, who saw Yulia Putintseva retire from their quarter-final meeting due to a lower back injury. 

After dropping her serve to fall 6-2 2-0 down to the world number two in 47 minutes, Putintseva, who played back-to-back three-set matches in the previous two rounds, pulled out of the match. 

Halep said of Muguruza: "Every time I played well against her, [I was] as much as possible aggressive. If I play my best game and if I feel great physically on court, I have a big chance to win the match. But every time is different, because she's playing so hard. 

"You don't really know what to expect. It's tough every time. So I don't plan for a specific match, because you never know on court."

Two-time Internazionali d'Italia champion Elina Svitolina was comprehensively beaten 6-3 6-0 by Marketa Vondrousova, who was the runner-up at last year's French Open. 

Standing between Vondrousova and her first final appearance since Roland Garros last year is reigning champion Karolina Pliskova. 

Second seed Pliskova overcame Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0 as she continued to impress after initially struggling when the WTA Tour returned in August.

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova cruised into the last eight at the Internazionali d'Italia on Friday, while Garbine Muguruza impressed again.

Tournament favourite Halep eventually looked comfortable in her 7-5 6-4 against Dayana Yastremska, but the Romanian had to fight back from a break down in the opening set as she was put on the back foot.

Halep slid 3-0 down in the opener, but she produced an admirable response when winning 12 of the following 13 points as she levelled up.

Another break from 5-5 allowed Halep to take charge, and from there she rarely looked in trouble, remaining in the ascendancy early in the second as she went 3-0 up, ultimately seeing out the win professionally despite Yastremska giving herself a chance with a break of her own.

"It was not easy against her because you don't really have the rhythm. She hits it very strong and it's tough to return her balls," Halep said, highlighting the need to get her head straight after the early wobble.

"After I lost the first three games, I just had to focus a little bit better and stop giving her the balls that she likes.

"I tried to change it up a little bit, make her move, [hit shots] a little bit high. I think during the match I found some solutions that were good to win.

"Big picture, I think it was a great match and gives me confidence that even in these conditions with a big hitter that I could win in two sets."

Awaiting Halep is a meeting with Yulia Putintseva, who fought back from a set down against fellow Russia-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina to edge an absorbing contest 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Second seed and defending champion Pliskova came through fairly comfortably against Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-3, with the Czech next going up against Elise Mertens, who saw off Danka Kovinic in similarly routine fashion with a 6-4 6-4 victory.

Another tantalising quarter-final will be contested between Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza. Spaniard Muguruza caught the eye as she beat seventh seed Johanna Konta 6-4 6-1, not dropping serve once against her British opponent.

Azarenka, who incredibly crushed Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin without dropping a game on Thursday, should be fresh for the quarter-final as her last-16 opponent Daria Kasatkina retired due to an ankle injury at 6-6 in the first set of their contest.

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