Simona Halep earned a place in her third Italian Open final in Rome on Sunday as she defeated Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-3 4-6 6-4 in front of a small crowd at the Foro Italico.
Romania’s top seed will face one of two Czechs in Monday’s climax, either defending champion and second seed Karolina Pliskova or last year’s French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova.
Halep, the world No.2, raced to the first set after creating a 4-1 gap but Muguruza bounced back from 3-1 down in the second set to level the match.
Halep missed two opportunities to serve out the match from 5-1 up in the decider as Muguruza broke back twice again.
However, two consecutive double faults from the Spaniard handed the contest to Halep, which was accompanied by applause from tennis fans for the first time in seven months.
It was the first ATP or WTA sanctioned match to have fans since both tours were suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rome tournament originally began behind closed doors without spectators, but the Italian government gave permission on Friday for a maximum of 1,000 fans to enter the grounds for the final two days.
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