Simona Halep will not make her comeback in the inaugural Bad Homburg Open but remains hopeful of being fit to defend her Wimbledon title.

The two-time grand slam champion has been sidelined since suffering a calf injury during her a second-round match against Angelique Kerber at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome last month.

Halep was due to feature in a new grass-court tournament in Bad Homburg, which starts on Sunday, but is not ready to return.

The world number three is determined to be back at full fitness to feature in the third major of the year at the All England Club.

She revealed in a social media post on Saturday: "I will not compete because my calf is not ready for a competition. I feel sorry about that and sad, because it's a beautiful place.

"I will keep practising because I really want to be able to play at Wimbledon, but for now I have to take care of my body and see how the recovery is going.

Wimbledon gets under way on June 28, having been cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Simona Halep will play in the inaugural Bad Homburg Open as she aims to return to fitness ahead of defending her Wimbledon title.

World number three and two-time grand slam winner Halep last month withdrew from the French Open after sustaining a calf injury.

The Romanian is targeting a return in time for the grass-court swing and will feature at the new WTA 250 event in Germany.

Designed with preparation for Wimbledon in mind, the Bad Homburg Open will run from June 20-26.

Halep, who has accepted a wildcard, is one of three former Wimbledon winners to be participating, alongside Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova.

"I have some good news to share with you," Halep said in a video posted to her official Twitter account.

"I am super excited to announce that I will be playing for the first edition in Bad Homburg and I am looking forward to seeing all of the fans in the stands."

Halep, who has also triumphed at Roland Garros, overcame Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in the 2019 Wimbledon final.

The grand slam in London did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Simona Halep will miss this year's French Open due to a calf injury.

The 2018 champion at Roland Garros suffered a tear in her left calf while playing against Angelique Kerber at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome last week.

Halep posted a statement on Twitter on Friday confirming she will not recover in time to take part in the second grand slam of the season, which begins in Paris on May 24.

"It's with a heavy heart that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros this year,” the world number three said.

"Unfortunately the tear in my left calf muscle needs more time to recover and the timeline is just too short.

"Withdrawing from a grand slam goes against all my instincts and aspirations as an athlete, but it is the right and only decision to make.

"The thought of not being in Paris fills me with sadness, but I will focus my energy on recovery, staying positive and getting back on court as soon as it is safe to do so.

"Roland Garros 2022, I am coming for you! A bientot [see you soon!]"

Halep defeated Sloane Stephens to win the clay-court tournament three years ago, having previously lost finals in 2014 and 2017.

The 29-year-old Romanian – who also won Wimbledon in 2019 – made the quarter-finals at the Australian Open back in February, her run in Melbourne ended by Serena Williams.

Simona Halep revealed her Rome withdrawal this week was caused by a torn calf muscle, a blow that casts doubt on her prospects of playing the French Open.

Former world number one Halep had to be helped off court by coach Darren Cahill after she was injured while leading Angelique Kerber 6-1 3-3 in the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia on Wednesday.

The two-time grand slam champion on Friday announced the extent of her injury. Her misfortune comes with just over two weeks remaining until the clay-court grand slam at Roland Garros gets under way on May 30.

Wimbledon is the next major on the calendar after the Paris slam, with the All England Club tournament scheduled to start on June 28 in London.

"After an MRI here in Rome I can confirm that I have small tear high up in the left calf," Romanian Halep posted on her social media accounts.

"I will fly home today and begin recovery in the pool and gym on Monday.

"I'm staying positive and will do everything i can to speed up my return."

Halep, now 29 years old, won her first major title in Paris three years ago and went on to be crowned Wimbledon champion in 2019.

Simona Halep suffered a worrying leg injury just over two weeks out from the French Open at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka crashed out.

Halep, the 2018 French Open champion, had dominated the first set against Angelique Kerber, winning 6-1, but came off the court with an apparent calf problem with the scores level at 3-3 in the second.

She received treatment but an emotional Halep was forced to withdraw from the clash, the defending champion handing victory to Kerber.

The Romanian was then helped from the grandstand court, leaving the area with strapping on her leg and a heavy limp, raising doubts about her ability to compete at Roland Garros, where she would likely be one of the favourites.

Earlier Williams made her first appearance on the tour since February, losing the 1,000th match of her glittering career to Nadia Podoroska, who reached the semi-finals in Paris last year.

Podoroska prevailed 7-6 (8-6) 7-5, with 23-time grand slam champion Williams not too downhearted by a defeat to an accomplished clay-court player.

"It's tough to have a first match on clay. It was definitely kind of good to go the distance and to try to be out there, but clearly I can do legions better," Williams said. 

"She has a good game, for sure, obviously. She's very consistent. Overall, it was good for me to play such a clay-court player on clay today, but it's a little frustrating. But it's all right. It is what it is.

"I have been training for months, but it feels definitely different on clay to make that last adjustment. Just filling out the game, finding the rhythm. Even sliding and confidence with that, with movement. That's always like a little struggle in the first two matches, and then I'm raring to go."

Osaka has yet to find her footing on clay and the reigning Australian Open champion came up short in the second round as she suffered a surprise loss to Jessica Pegula.

Pegula said after her 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win: "I know she doesn't love clay, so I just tried to be the clay court player out there today, and it worked just good enough."

World number one Ashleigh Barty had no such difficulties in her 6-4 6-1 over Yaroslava Shvedova, but fourth seed Sofia Kenin was a shock loser to Barbora Krejcikova.

Petra Kvitova was beaten in three sets by Vera Zvonareva but Madrid champion Aryna Sabalenka, last year's French Open champion Iga Swiatek, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza all progressed while teenager Coco Gauff knocked out 17th seed Maria Sakkari.

Elise Mertens twice came back from the brink to beat Simona Halep and reach a Madrid Open quarter-final against former doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka.

Third seed Halep was the highest-ranked player in action on Wednesday but came unstuck against Mertens despite taking the opener and leading by a break in each of the subsequent sets.

Mertens emerged a 4-6 7-5 7-5 winner after two hours and 34 minutes, defeating Halep for the first time on clay and only the second time on any surface.

There were opportunities for both players throughout and Halep struck first, losing her break lead in the first but recovering on this occasion.

The Romanian, a two-time winner who has also twice lost in the final in Madrid, twice cancelled out a deficit in the second but could not then capitalise on a lead of her own.

Mertens battled back and broke to love to level the match, then maintained her composure to see out a back-and-forth decider once Halep had again forged ahead.

"She played really well, and she definitely deserved to win because she was stronger in the end," Halep said.

"I cannot say I played bad, but I did some mistakes, important mistakes. Sometimes it's just a little bit and the match is going away."

Sabalenka is up next for Mertens, although she had a much more straightforward path through the third round.

Jessica Pegula held her up for only 52 minutes in a dominant 6-1 6-2 success.

In the same half of the draw, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova upset another seed, following up her straight-sets victory over Karolina Pliskova by beating Jennifer Brady in three. She plays Karolina Muchova next.

At L'Open 35 de Saint-Melo, second seed Rebecca Peterson came from behind to see off Xiyu Wang, while Tamara Zidansek and Arantxa Rus also produced comebacks.

Nina Stojanovic survived three sets, but Christina McHale crashed out to Viktoriya Tomova.

Naomi Osaka suffered a shock second-round exit to Karolina Muchova at the Madrid Open, but there was no such trouble for Simona Halep as she held off Zheng Saisai.

Second seed Osaka was playing just her second match on clay since the 2019 French Open due to injury issues and became the latest big name to fall at the hands of Muchova.

The world number 20, who had already defeated two top-five players this season, prevailed 6-4 3-6 6-1 in a time of one hour and 49 minutes in the Spanish capital.

Osaka has now lost two of her last three matches, having been eliminated from the Miami Open quarter-finals by Maria Sakkari at the end of March.

"I think today for me it was quite different from the last time I lost in Miami, and I actually think I played much better here, so I'm very happy about that," Osaka said.

"I think what I can take away from this is that I tried my best throughout the entire match. I think tennis-wise, I felt I was too defensive in the first set.

"I wouldn't say I’m happy that I lost, but I think I learned a lot. So that's all I can hope for."

Two-time champion Halep has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament after seeing off unseeded opponent Zheng 6-0 6-4.

Halep took nine games in a row at the start of the match but, like in her opening-round win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, she had to hold off a late surge from her opponent to advance.

Next up for Halep is a last-16 showdown with Elise Mertens, who beat Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 in the last of Sunday's matches.

Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka safely advanced earlier in the day thanks to a 6-3 6-3 win against Daria Kasatkina, while Sakkari beat Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-1.

Sabalenka was on course to face Victoria Azarenka for a place in the quarter-finals, but the Belarussian withdrew from her match with Jessica Pegula because of a back injury.

Elsewhere, Jennifer Brady, who knocked out fellow American Venus Williams in the first round, eased past Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-1.

Brady faces a tricky test in the next round with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated sixth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-0 7-5, seeking another scalp.

Naomi Osaka quickly adapted to playing again on clay as she was among the seeds to triumph in Friday's action at the Madrid Open.

Osaka had not featured on the red dirt since a third-round exit at the 2019 French Open, missing out on competing on the surface last year due to injury.

This year's Australian Open champion stumbled out of the blocks against Misaki Doi, quickly falling 3-0 behind in the opener, but recovered from the early setback to prevail in straight sets.

The second seed hit 26 winners in a 7-5 6-2 triumph over her compatriot, who has now lost all three of their meetings on the WTA Tour.

"You obviously want to play well against a player that's from the same country," Osaka said.

"I never really know what to expect because I feel like she always plays better when I play against her, so it's a bit tough to manage controlling my emotions. But I think I was able to do it pretty well."

Simona Halep also won in her opener at the event, the third seed racing through the first set before holding off a fightback from Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second.

Halep – who needed 83 minutes to clinch a 6-0 7-5 victory – has been crowned champion twice in Madrid, the first time coming in 2016 before she returned a year later to successfully defend the title.

Aryna Sabalenka wasted little time in seeing off the challenge of Vera Zvonareva, the fifth seed producing 37 winners in a 6-1 6-2 win, her first ever in the event.

Maria Sakkari found the going much tougher before eventually ousting Amanda Anisimova, losing the first seven games in a row before rallying for a 0-6 6-1 6-4 triumph.

Daria Kasatkina was also pushed in her opener, with a 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) win over Irina-Camelia Begu taking just over three hours.

Karolina Pliskova had to go the distance after falling a set behind against Coco Gauff, while two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka came out on top in a deciding set against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

In the final match on a busy day, Jennifer Brady won 6-2 6-4 in an all-American clash with Venus Williams.  

Ash Barty will meet Aryna Sabalenka in the Stuttgart Open final after Simona Halep's quest to win the tournament for the first time fell short.

World number three Halep had claimed straight-set wins over Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marketa Vondrousova en route to the semi-finals, but met her match in the form of Belarusian Sabalenka, who triumphed 6-3 6-2.

A nine-time singles champion, Sabalenka made it into a 14th career final without conceding a single break, as she managed to keep Romanian Halep at arm's length.

Standing between Sabalenka and a 10th singles title is world number one Barty who, on her 25th birthday, came from behind to defeat Elina Svitolina 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Making her tournament debut in Stuttgart, Barty had overcome Laura Siegemund and Karolina Pliskova, but found herself at 5-4 down in the second set, with Svitolina serving for the match.

The fourth seed failed to take her chance, with Barty breaking and subsequently biting back in the tie-break, before carrying the momentum into the decider to claim a third straight win over Svitolina.

Top seed Elise Mertens made it to her second Istanbul Open as she saw off her doubles partner and birthday girl Veronika Kudermetova 6-1 6-4.

It means Mertens will be playing in two finals on Sunday, as she pairs up with Kudermetova again in the doubles showdown against Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya.

Mertens' win ended Charleston champion Kudermetova's nine-match winning streak, and set up a final against the unseeded Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-4.

World number one Ash Barty survived a scare to reach the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open with a 2-6 6-1 7-5 win over Karolina Pliskova.

The Australian started slowly in the quarter-final of the WTA 500 tournament on Friday as Pliskova broke her serve twice in taking the first set, before Barty hit back with three breaks of her own to force a decider.

Barty was two points away from losing on five occasions as world number nine Pliskova served for the match at 5-4 in the final set.

But she broke the Czech's resolve eventually, sealing victory when Pliskova hit the ball long after a baseline rally.

The win was Barty's eighth consecutive victory over a top-10 opponent and she said in a media conference afterwards that facing top players in the world brings the best out of her.

"When you come up against top-10 opponents, you have to go to that level above to be able to compete. They force you to bring your best," Barty said.

"With a lot of the girls in the top 10, we've had plenty of matches that have gone either way, different experiences, so each time I love that challenge of testing myself against the best."

Barty will face Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals after she saved two match points to claim a 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova.

In the other half of the draw, Simona Halep breezed through to the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-4 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Halep clinically closed out the first set, and although Alexandrova showed more fight in the second, the world number three did not allow her a route back into the match.

Halep will face Aryna Sabalenka following the Belarusian's 7-5 4-6 6-1 win over Anett Kontaveit.

In the Istanbul Cup, top seed Elise Mertens secured her place in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova.

Mertens will face Veronika Kudermetova who fought back from a set down to clinch a 2-6 6-3 6-3 win over Ana Bogdan.

The other semi-final will see Sorana Cirstea play Marta Kostyuk. Cirstea progressed after Fiona Ferro, trailing 6-4, retired through injury while Kostyuk beat Ana Konjuh 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Simona Halep started her clay-court season in style at the Stuttgart Open as she saw off Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets on Thursday.

Second seed Halep is hunting her first appearance in a Stuttgart final, and she looked in fine form as she took just 56 minutes to dismiss Vondrousova 6-1 6-3.

Vondrousova – the 2019 French Open runner up – had won both of her previous meetings with Halep, but on this occasion she was no match for the world number three, who has won every major European clay-court tournament other than Stuttgart.

"Starting the clay-court season makes me very happy and motivated, extra motivated actually," Halep said in a post-match news conference.

"I missed playing matches. I had a few weeks without an official match and it was kind of tough when I started the match, but my mind was strong enough just to give focus on what I have to play. So, I did it great and today it was a great match.

"I was a little bit nervous before the match because I played twice against her and she beat me every time.

"It is important for my mind, for my game, because the clay-court season is going to be very tough. Now this match gave me confidence that my level is high, and if I keep doing the same thing, I will be good."

Facing Halep in the quarter-finals will be Ekaterina Alexandrova, who defeated world number 12 Belinda Bencic, and joining them in the final eight is Elina Svitolina, who defeated Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Two-time Stuttgart champion Kerber and Svitolina had faced off 13 times before Thursday's contest, and the Ukrainian is now 9-5 up in that head-to-head tussle.

While Aryna Sabalenka also progressed, Karolina Pliskova teed up a clash with top seed Ash Barty by coming from behind to beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3.

At the Istanbul Open, top seed Elise Mertens also needed three sets to forge a path into the last night.

Mertens had to show her mettle in a contest which lasted over two hours, but she eventually got the better of Viktorija Golubic 6-4 4-6 6-1.

Veronika Kudermetova also made the last eight, as did Ana Bogdan, who fended off Barbora Kreijcova, while Fiona Ferro defeated Vera Zvonareva.

World number one Ash Barty moved through to the last 16 of the Miami Open, where Simona Halep's campaign came to a premature end.

Defending champion and top seed Barty was too good for Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday's showdown between the former French Open winners.

Two-time grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka also moved through to the fourth round of the WTA Premier tournament.

Halep, however, succumbed to a shoulder injury in Miami.

 

CLASH OF PAST AND PRESENT NUMBER ONES

Barty and former world number one Azarenka will go head-to-head for a place in the quarter-finals.

Australian star Barty accounted for Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 as she extended her winning streak at the Miami Open to eight matches.

Barty, who tallied nine winners to 14 unforced errors, rallied from 2-0 down in the second set by reeling off six successive games to advance.

"Today felt like I was a lot sharper and switched on and ready to go from the very first point," Barty said afterwards.

Three-time Miami champion Azarenka trumped Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-2 in the third round.

Azarenka – the 14th seed – fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the opening set to get the better of the three-time major winner.

"She's a very talented player. I always have been a huge fan of her game and the way she plays, the way she handles herself. She has a lot of variety," Azarenka said on facing Barty. "She has pretty much every single shot there is. [It's] going to be a great match."

 

INJURED HALEP PULLS OUT

Two-time grand slam champion Halep withdrew due to a shoulder injury as Anastasija Sevastova benefited from a walkover.

"I'm very sorry to I have to pull out of the singles and doubles at the Miami Open, but my injury doesn't let me play here as expected," said Halep.

"I'm sad that I can't continue, I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches but unfortunately I can't. 

"Hopefully next year I will come back healthy and better."

Next up for Sevastova is wildcard Ana Konjuh, who stunned 15th seed and reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek 6-4 2-6 6-2.

 

SVITOLINA AND SABALENKA ROLL ON

Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the round of 16 after overcoming fellow seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova stands in the way of a quarter-final berth – the ninth seed was too good for 17th seed Johanna Konta 6-1 6-2.

Seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, prevailed 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against Veronika Kudermetova.

Belinda Bencic – the 11th seed – was sent packing 4-6 6-4 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova, who will take on Sabalenka.

Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Miami Open due to a shoulder injury.

Halep beat Caroline Garcia in the second round in Florida on Thursday, but an issue with the world number three's right shoulder prevented her from facing Anastasija Sevastova.

The two-time grand slam champion said: "I'm very sorry to I have to pull out of the singles and doubles at the Miami Open, but my injury doesn't let me play here as expected.

"I'm sad that I can't continue, I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches but unfortunately I can't. 

"Hopefully next year I will come back healthy and better."

Sevastova will face either French Open champion Iga Swiatek or Ana Konjuh in the round of 16.

Ash Barty completed a great escape to stay alive at the Miami Open, where Simona Halep also progressed.

Barty faced a match point but the defending champion and world number one dug deep to prevail in three sets against Kristina Kucova on Thursday.

Romanian third seed Halep also needed three sets at the WTA Premier tournament in Miami.

 

BARTY PRODUCES COMEBACK

In her first match outside of Australia in more than 12 months, Barty survived to top qualifier Kucova in Miami.

Barty trailed 5-2 in the third set, with Kucova earning a match point at 5-3 but the Australian star saved it and won the final five games of the match to secure a spot in the round of 32.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty sent down an equal career-high 15 aces in two-and-a-half hours.

"Today was really hard work, and I enjoyed every single minute of it," Barty said on court post-game. "There’s nothing like coming through a test like that, and now I get another opportunity in a couple days' time to play another tough match and test myself again."

Next up for Barty is 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, who outlasted Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 5-7 6-3.

 

HALEP REACHES MILESTONE

Halep brought up her 400th WTA main-draw triumph with a 3-6 6-4 6-0 victory over France's Caroline Garcia.

After dropping the opening set, Halep won 11 of the final 12 games to move through to the next round.

Halep won in one hour, 48 minutes, drastically improving on her first serve after the opening set while coming to grips with Garcia's kick serve.

"I needed time to get used to it and to get the rhythm," Halep said about Garcia's serve having improved her head-to-head record to 7-1, with Anastasija Sevastova awaiting in the last 32 after eliminating American sensation Coco Gauff.

Halep received attention on her shoulder early in the second. "I struggled with my serve," Halep said. "I struggled with my shoulder a little bit, so the attention was a little bit on the pain. [After that] I started to relax myself."

 

KERBER'S DOUBLE BAGEL

Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber has been up and down in recently, but she flexed her muscles with a 6-0 6-0 humiliation of Renata Zarazua.

Aryna Sabalenka – the seventh seed – was another one to fend off match points before rallying 0-6 6-3 7-6 (11-9) past Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova in a gutsy.

Last year's French Open champion Iga Swiatek knocked off Barbora Krejcikova 6-4 6-2, while ninth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got past Aliza Cornet 6-0 6-4.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina survived to beat Shelby Rogers 3-6 7-5 6-3 and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka benefited from a walkover.

Sloane Stephens ended her losing run to start the year with a hard-fought three-set win over France's Oceane Dodin in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Former US Open champion Stephens, ranked 49th in the world, defeated Dodin 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2.

Stephens progresses to the second round where the top seeds, including top three Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, will be introduced and she will face 28th seed Amanda Anisimova.

Danielle Collins, Wang Qiang, Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia were among the other winners on Wednesday, while Svetlana Kuznetsova bowed out.

 

SLOANE FIGHTBACK

Stephens had endured a dismal start to 2021, enduring an 0-4 win-loss record to begin the year.

The 28-year-old American was made to do it the hard way against Dodin on Wednesday, dropping the first set in a tie-break.

Stephens improved on her return in the second set, winning 73 per cent of points off Dodin's second serve before running away with the match in the last.

"It's been a rough one for me lately, so I'm really pleased to get through that, fight my way through it and make it happen somehow," Stephens said post-match.

FORMER MAJOR WINNER GONE

Two-time grand slam winner Kuznetsova was the major first-round casualty, going down 2-6 6-2 6-1 to France's Alize Cornet.

Kuznetsova, who is now ranked 35th in the world, bows out with Cornet to face ninth seed Petra Kvitova.

Collins got past France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-3 with the 40th-ranked American setting up a second-round clash with 32nd seed Veronika Kudermetova.

Wang, ranked 38th in the world, also progressed despite dropping a set in a 6-1 3-6 6-3 win over Spanish qualifier Aliona Bolsova.

SECOND-ROUND MATCH-UPS

The round of 64 will commence on Thursday, with third seed Halep to face Garcia who got past another Romanian, Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-2.

Top seed Barty will be in action against Slovakia's Kristina Kucova, while fourth seed Sofia Kenin will take on former top-10 player Andrea Petkovic.

Second seed Osaka has an assignment against 77th-ranked Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, while 14th seed Victoria Azarenka is already into the third round with opponent Laura Siegemund withdrawing after her win on Tuesday.

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