Tennis-Saville ousts top seed Pegula in Washington, Halep retires with illness

(Reuters) – The Citi Open in Washington lost two of its top players on Wednesday when Australian Daria Saville ended Jessica Pegula’s title defence in the second round while former world number one Simona Halep was forced to retire mid-match due to illness.

Former top-20 player Saville was ranked 627th in the world in February after missing most of the 2021 season following an Achilles tendon surgery but she has regained ground quickly to reach 88th ranking now.

Saville defeated top-seeded American Pegula, ranked seventh in the world, 7-5 6-4 on Wednesday – her second win in the season over a top-10 player – in sweltering conditions to continue her progress.

“Every top-10 win is up there,” said the 28-year-old, who had defeated then ninth-ranked Ons Jabeur at Indian Wells in March. “I definitely, like, thought about it before the match and said to my coach, ‘hey, let’s get another top-10 win here’.

“I’m happy. I think that creates good reputation and players are going to say, ‘she’s playing well. She has had some good wins this year’.”

Two-time major winner Halep, seeded third at the WTA 250 event, was trailing 7-5 2-0 against world number 71 Anna Kalinskaya when she decided she could no longer continue.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Tomasz Janowski)