Halep withdraws from Palermo Open after quarantine order

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PALERMO, Sicily — Second-ranked Simona Halep withdrew from the Palermo Ladies Open Sunday following a quarantine ordinance issued by Italy’s health ministry.

“Given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel at this time, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Palermo,” Halep tweeted. “I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian ministry of health for all efforts on my behalf.”

The Aug. 3-9 tournament announced Sunday that the Romanian player’s manager, Virginia Ruzici, had informed Palermo officials of the decision.

The move comes after Italy’s health minister on Friday signed an ordinance requiring all those who have in the last 14 days stayed in Romania or Bulgaria to quarantine.

“We were filled with regret when informed of the news,” tournament director Oliviero Palma said. “We had informed Halep’s staff in detail about the fact that professional players shouldn’t have to go into quarantine.

“But nevertheless Halep’s staff informed us when their decision was already taken. We are disheartened and deeply upset,” Palma added.

Palma also said that a regional health minister had sent Halep a notice explaining that the government ordinance does not apply to workers, and therefore to professional athletes.

Halep was going to be the headline player for the clay-court tournament, the first professional tour-level tennis event following a five-month break for the coronavirus pandemic.

Four other top-20 players remain entered: No. 14 Johanna Konta of Britain, No. 15 Petra Martić of Croatia, No. 18 Markéta Vondroušová of the Czech Republic and No. 20 Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.