Top seed Simona Halep took the first semi -final berth at the Italian Open on Saturday when Kazakh rival Yulia Putintseva retired during their match on Saturday .
The world number two was leading 6 – 2 , 2 – 0 in the quarter – final clash on clay in Rome when Putintseva signaled that she was retiring after 45 minutes of play with a lower back injury .
Putintseva, ranked 30 , had reached the quarter – finals of the recent hardcourt US Open , a tournament which Halep skipped because of coronavirus concerns .
Halep next meets either Belarussian Victoria Arazenka or Spaniard Garbine Muguruza for a place in the final of the clay- court tournament .
It is the fifth time that former French Open champion Halep has reached the last four in Rome .
The Wimbledon champion was runner – up to Elina Svitolina in the 2017 and 2018 finals .