Halep to face Bertens in Madrid Open final

Tanya Simon
Мая 14, 2019

Kiki Bertens defeated defending champion Simona Halep 6-4 6-4 in the Madrid Open final to climb to number four in the world rankings.

Naomi Osaka will start her mission to retain world number one status and be top seed at the French Open with a clash against Dominika Cibulkova on Wednesday.

It will be a second straight final appearance in Madrid for seventh seed Bertens, who gained revenge on reigning champion Petra Kvitova in the last eight before defeating Sloane Stephens 6-2 7-5 on Friday.

She broke Bencic in the fifth game of the third set and then held through to the ninth game to serve for the match at 5-4. A big serve set up one match point, which Halep saved with a diving volley.

World number one Osaka has claimed the last two majors at the U.S. and Australian Opens and will be looking for a third in succession when she travels to Paris for the French Open later this month. The battle of exchanging breaks continued as the two exchanged breaks for the third time in the match in the 4th and 5th game of the second set. I played stupidly today, I did everything that she liked.

"I was missing too many easy balls - I lost control of that tiebreak".

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"I was rushing too much in the second-set tiebreaker", Halep said.

The contrasts between the two women who contested the first semi-final in this year's Mutua Madrid Open were extensive.

He will draw confidence from that result ahead of Sunday's final, but arguably even more so from overcoming Nadal, on clay, which Djokovic had earlier described as the "ultimate challenge" following his own 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4) victory over Dominic Thiem.

Bertens triumphed 6-4, 6-4 against Halep at the Premier Mandatory tournament at La Caja Mágica. She returned to win the tournament in 2014. She began to come forward more, and with considerable success.

Osaka will achieve both of those goals if she makes it through to the quarter-finals this week, while Simona Halep must win the title to have any chance of replacing her. But Halep was playing near flawless tennis, a wonderful combination of big, accurate strikes from the baseline and fast, nimble defence as Bencic tried to replicate her opponent's depth and width through long rallies.

And so the mighty Romanian maintains her assault on reclaiming not just the Madrid title but the No1 ranking.

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