Published: Wed, May 15, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Bertens wins Madrid title; No. 1 to elude Halep

Bertens wins Madrid title; No. 1 to elude Halep

Simona Halep defeated Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-7, 6-0 to reach her fourth finals at the Mutua Madrid Open 2019.

Bencic, who opened the door for Halep to possibly return to the top of the world ranking with her quarter-final defeat of current number one Naomi Osaka, took a tight second set in a tiebreaker.

That was the second time Bertens beat Halep in a WTA final following her at the Western & Southern Open in the United States of America in August 2018.

Halep was chasing her third success in four years in this tournament but delivered the sort of patchy, disgruntled display that has hindered her before with a trophy in sight. "I think I learned a lot from past year [a defeat to Petra Kvitova] - for sure, I will go for it". Halep cruised to a 6-2 first-set win.

Bertens joined the WTA Insider Podcast after her Madrid win to reflect on her blistering week in the Spanish capital, the lessons she's learned as she's ascended into the WTA Elite, and how she hopes to cope with the spotlight now that she's become one to beat. She broke again, 5-2, and served out the set in a scant half hour, 6-2, having won 15 of the last 17 points.

A shot from Bertens was heading way out and would have handed Halep two break points but the wayward ball struck the Romanian's body, earning her opponent a fortuitous point that eventually led to her holding serve. "I'm sad I didn't win but Kiki deserved to win, she played the better tennis and all week the best tennis, so congratulations". "I'm just happy how I was able to finish the match", she added. Stephens had no trouble getting past Petra Martic in her last-eight encounter. With this victory, Belinda made it 5-0 against the top-5 players on the WTA leaderboards in the 2019 season. He lost in the last four in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona, arriving in Madrid without winning either tournament for the first time since 2015.

Knocked back to 300 after wrist surgery in 2017, she was back fitter and stronger than ever, and arrived in Madrid with the Dubai title and 25 match-wins-plus victory with Roger Federer in the Hopman Cup.

"I am sorry to announce that I must withdraw from today's match". Halep returned the favor on Bertens' second service game to pull even at 2-2. The biggest title of my career.

It will come down to a battle between Bertens and her power game against Halep's more polished all-around play.

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