February 16, 2018 / 7:19 PM / 6 months ago

Injured Halep pulls out after reaching Qatar Open semi-finals

(Reuters) - Simona Halep pulled out of the Qatar Open with a right foot injury shortly after she reached the semi-final with a dominant 6-0 6-4 win over American qualifier Catherine Bellis on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Women's Singles Final - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 27, 2018. Romania's Simona Halep reacts during her match against Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The Romanian world number two, who was playing her first event since losing in the Australian Open final last month, said she had been carrying the injury throughout the tournament and would also miss next week’s Dubai Tennis Championships.

“Definitely until Indian Wells I will not play anything. I will decide before the tournament if I will be able to play,” Halep told a news conference.

“I am surprised I could play three matches and win them. I felt pain every day, so it wasn’t easy to manage it... the MRI shows that I have fluid and also tendinitis at the fourth toe, so I have to take care of it and think about my health first.

“I didn’t have much time to recover before this tournament, but today was too much, and I decided to stop,” added Halep, who joins Russian Maria Sharapova and American Madison Keys in pulling out of next week’s event.

Halep’s withdrawal means world number four Garbine Muguruza will play in Sunday’s final in Doha after the Spaniard came back from a set down to beat Caroline Garcia 3-6 6-1 6-4.

After struggling to find her range and rhythm in the first set, Muguruza saved a break point and won five straight games in the second set to drag the contest into a decider.

She then broke Garcia early in the third set and held on to clinch the victory in nearly two hours.

Later, world number one Caroline Wozniacki suffered a mid-match blip before getting past Angelique Kerber 7-6(4) 1-6 6-3.

She next faces the twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who advanced after opponent Julia Goerges was forced to retire trailing 6-4 2-1.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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