World number three and 2018 Roland Garros champion Simona Halep is unlikely to feature at the year’s second Slam in Paris, after being forced to retire from her second-round match in Rome against Angelique Kerber midweek.
Halep was leading 6-1, 3-3 before suddenly sustaining the injury as she moved to return an errant serve by Kerber at 15-0.
After trying but struggling to play the next point, she stopped and requested the physio, who had to help carry her to the bench.
During her initial post-match statement, she said she was still unsure about recovery time but Kerber knew immediately that it was a serious one without seeing how things actually transpired.
“I was focusing more on my service game, because I start[ed] to play better in the second set. Suddenly, she called the trainer. I know Simona doesn’t call trainers just like this, I knew, okay something happened.
Of course, I was feeling so bad for her because this is not the way I would like to finish a tough match against also a friend on the other side.”
Halep, the defending champion in Rome, has battled niggling injuries already this season.
She had an abdominal strain scare just days before this year’s Australian Open began, while withdrawing from the Miami Open in late March with a right shoulder injury.
This latest issue appears the most serious one of all, as it will restrict her on-court movement and could flare up again if not fully healed.
There’s not much in the way of time for the Romanian to fully recuperate either: an already-delayed Roland Garros begins on May 30, while the defence of her Wimbledon title starts June 28th.
Picture source: WTA/Jimmie48