Champion Halep retires injured from Italian Open

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Rome (AFP)

Champion Simona Halep was forced to retire injured in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday weeks before her bid to reclaim the French Open.

The world number three pulled up with a left calf issue while leading Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-1, 3-3 in their match on clay at the Foro Italico in Rome.

The 29-year-old limped back to her chair helped by officials but left the court in tears after treatment.

The injury comes three weeks before the French Open which she won in 2018 and twice finished runner-up.

The two-time Grand Slam winner also won Wimbledon in 2019.

In Rome, Halep finished runner-up in 2017 and 2018 before winning last year, with the tournament pushed back to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kerber, ranked 26 in the world, next meets 49th-ranked Latvian Jeļena Ostapenko.