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French Open favorite Halep now not going to place power on herself after Rome triumph

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.”

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