2018 Roland Garros champion and World No.3 Simona Halep suffered an injury setback in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, having to retire in the second set to Angelique Kerber due to a lower leg injury. An ultrasound revealed a tear in the Romanian's left calf.
"Unfortunately an ultrasound has revealed that I have a tear in my left calf," Halep said in a statement. "I will get an MRI tomorrow to understand the injury in more detail, but at the moment we are unsure of recovery time.
"I’m so disappointed to end my tournament in Rome like this, but I will do everything I can to take care of the injury and be back as soon as possible. Thanks so much for your support and I’ll keep you posted on my progress 🙏."
Halep appeared to sustain the injury on a seemingly innocuous move to return an errant serve at 6-3, 3-3, with Kerber serving at 15-0. The World No.3 tried to play the next point before stopping and requesting the physio, who assisted Halep to her bench.
"I was focusing more on my service game, because I start to play better in the second set," Kerber said afterward. "Then suddenly she called the trainer. I know that Simona is not calling trainers just like this. I knew, okay, something happened. But I really didn't saw the moment, so I don't know what exactly happened in the moment.
"But 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."
It was a disappointing way for the reigning Rome champion's title defense to end. Halep is now in a race against the clock as she hopes to recover in time for Roland Garros, which begins in two and a half weeks on May 30th. Wimbledon, where Halep is the reigning champion, begins on June 28th.