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Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, world leader, was markedly defeated by Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, 6-0, 6-4, on Sunday, in the final of the WTA tournament in Rome (Internationali BNL d'Italia), with prizes worth 3,351,729 US dollars.

Halep (aged 26) gave in after only 67 minutes to world no.4 Svitolina who successfully defended the title won last year, also in the final against Simona, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Simona Halep lacked inspiration in the first set, in which Svitolina (aged 23), in great shape, succeeded all shots. The set, won by the Ukrainian to love, lasted 19 minutes and Halep only secured 8 points (Svitolina winning 24).

In the second set, Halep managed to up her game but her energy level was still rather low after the two-hour and 24 minutes match against Sarapova, and did not manage to handle the aggressiveness of her adversary who constantly pushed her away from the back line.

Halep managed to get the first game but Svitolina won three consecutive games and maintained the break advantage to the end. Simona also needed a medical break, at 3-2 for Svitolina but was able to continue the match.

Halep managed two aces, Svitolina had none, the Romanian made 2 double faults and the Ukrainian only one. The Romanian's serve percentages were modest, 51 percent for the first and 50 percent for the second, as compared to 81 percent and 65 percent for Svitolina. Halep did not create any break opportunity for herself and lost serve four times, having 13 winners (as compared to Svitolina's 18) and 21 unforced errors (13 her adversary).

Svitolina is now leading Halep 4-2 in direct matches, after Simona won in 2013 in Sofia, 6-1, 6-1 and in 2017 at Roland Garros, in the quarterfinals, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0 and the Ukrainian defeated Halep in 2017 in Rome, in the final, then in Toronto, in the semifinals, 6-1, 6-1 and in the Tournament of Champions, 6-3, 6-4, and now again in Rome.

This edition's winner grabs 507,100 euro and 900 WTA points whereas Halep wins a cheque worth 253,425 euro and 585 WTA points.

Simona Halep will keep her world leader position in the WTA rankings released on Monday and will be the No. 1 seed for Roland Garros, the second Gran Slam tournament of the year, that will kick off on 27 May. AGERPRES (RO - editor: Mihai Tenea; EN - author/editor: Simona Iacob)

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