In the third round of the Italian Open, Simona Halep was given a nice gift as her opponent Madison Keys withdrew from the tournament due to a right rib injury.

Halep is trying to better last year’s performance in Rome where she lost in the final to Elina Svitolina after rolling her ankle mid-match

Halep is the current number one in the world but entering the tournament that ranking was in jeopardy.  She needed 2 wins and to make it further than Caroline Wozniacki to hold on to her ranking. She has completed the first half of that scenario with Keys’ withdrawal.  The rest will be determined later Thursday when Wozniacki is scheduled to play Anastasjia Sevastova.

Halep is set to face Caroline Garcia on Friday in the quarter-finals.

Venus1

In one of the earlier third round match-ups on Thursday, Estonian’s Annet Kontaveit upset Venus Williams in the Italian Open 6-2, 7-6(7-3).

Kontaveit was consistent for most of the first set and capitalized on a her break chances. Her backhand was on fire and Venus was just playing too passive.  After 2 breaks, the set was easily all Kontaveit’s.

Venus started the second set strong going up 3-0, but the Estonian came roaring back to level it at 3-3.  For the rest of the set it was Venus’ forehand vs. Kontaveit’s backhand. In the end it was the backhand of Kontaveit’s that was the deadlier of the two.  Annet took the first 6 points in the tiebreak and on match point Venus’ forehand sailed long to end the contest.

It was only 12 days ago that these 2 players faced off in Madrid with Kontaveit taking that match in 3 sets. Head to head they are now even at 2-2.

Coming into the tournament, Williams was ranked 9th in the world.  Venus is now 9-6 on the year with no titles to her name.

With the win, the 22-year-old Kontaveitis 10-10 on the year and is searching for her second career title.  She is currently 26th in the world.

She will next face the winner of Sevastova and Wozniacki, which is scheduled for later Friday.

Featured Image Credit:  Eurosport

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

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