Rome Masters: Johanna Konta knocked out in third round by Garbine Muguruza

Johanna Konta

Halep, who lost two straight finals in Rome to Elina Svitolina in 2017 and 2018, will need to beat two-time Grand Slam victor Garbiñe Muguruza or U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka to return to the final.

Pliskova's regrouping in the third set gave Mertens no opportunity to extend her second-set momentum or the match from her higher-ranked opponent.

"It's one of the biggest goals now. If I play like today I think I should not be anxious".

"I felt great. Especially the first set I think was maybe one of my best sets that I have played on clay ever".

A two-time Rome runner-up to Elina Svitolina, Halep is pleased with her play and both confident and a little jittery about making a run at her first Rome title.

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. Because she's the type of player who likes to dominate, but at the same time she's making the ball in play. "So I'm expecting a very hard match".

Halep said of Muguruza: "Every time I played well against her, [I was] as much as possible aggressive".

Every time Muguruza meets Johanna Konta the degree of difficulty spikes-all three of their prior meetings went the three-set distance-but today the two-time Grand Slam champion took charge on serve. "This time I think I play a little bit smarter. But I'll try to take the positive aspects out of it", Sinner said. "I didn't even expect this, but I'm just happy to be through and happy with this win", Vondrousova said.

Muguruza leads Halep 5-2 in previous meetings but both the Romanian's wins were on clay.

Second-seeded Czech Republic's Carolina Pliskova defeated Russia's Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-3 to enter the quarterfinal.

The former French Open victor will next face US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka.

Halep is right to be cautious about Muguruza's form given that the former world No 1 came from a set and a break down against Azarenka, a recent US Open finalist.

Putintseva also reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals in her previous tournament, while Halep chose to skip the event in NY due to coronavirus travel concerns.



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