WTA Madrid: Kiki Bertens masters Simona Halep for biggest title in a career


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WTA Madrid: Kiki Bertens masters Simona Halep for biggest title in a career

Competing in her second straight Madrid final, the 7th seed Kiki Bertens took down a former champion Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 27 minutes for the most significant title in a career. This was the 11th WTA final for the Dutch and her ninth title, joining Bianca Andreescu and Ashleigh Barty as the third first-time Premier Mandatory champion this season.

With this outcome, Naomi Osaka will stay ahead of Simona Halep at the top of the WTA rankings list while Bertens moves inside the top-4 for the first time in a career, joining the list with some big names who have managed to conquer events at this level before her.

Halep and Bertens battled for the sixth time and the Dutch delivered the third win, the second in a row after Cincinnati last year when she also celebrated in the title match. Halep had some impressive results in Madrid in the last couple of years and she fought well this well as well, moving one win away from the third crown at Caja Magica but standing no chance today against the stronger opponent.

The Romanian landed in a staggering 87% of the first serve although that gave her nothing, dropping half of the points behind the initial shot and getting broken five times from eight chances offered to Bertens. On the other hand, Kiki fought off three out of five break points and had a dominant role on the court, firing 25 winners in comparison to only nine from Halep who couldn't forge the victory with her defense.

The first set saw five breaks of serve in six games from 2-1 for Halep, with Bertens seizing three straights good return games for a 6-4 after 37 minutes. The Dutch delivered a crucial break at 2-2 in the second set after a forehand error from Simona, saving a break point at 4-3 and sealing the deal on the third match point in game ten to start a massive celebration of her career-best result at the age of 27.