Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball to Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova during their WTA Madrid Open quarter-final tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 10, 2018. / AFP / JAVIER SORIANO
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World number one Simona Halep's Madrid Open hat-trick hopes bit the dust as she was overpowered 6-4 6-3 in the quarter-final by inspired Czech Karolina Pliskova Thursday.Halep, who has won the tournament for the last two years, had looked imperious on her way to the last eight, dropping only nine games in three matches including Wednesday's win against Pliskova's twin sister Kristyna.Pliskova broke for a 4-3 lead in the opening set and although Halep saved two set points serving at 3-5 Pliskova closed out the opener with a love hold.Romanian Halep's error-count was surprisingly high, and she found herself under pressure early in the second set as Pliskova pounced to break in the third game.
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