Former world No. 1 Simona Halep showed her class after beating Kirsten Flipkens at Wimbledon as she wanted all the focus to be shifted on the Belgian, who was playing her final match. On Thursday, Halep beat Flipkens 7-5 6-4 to progress into the Wimbledon third round.
Flipkens, who turned pro in 2003, reached her maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon in 2013. Back in February, Halep and Flipkens talked about the Belgian's retirement at Wimbledon. Halep and Flipkens obviously have a good relationship and the Romanian was honored to play the Belgian in the final tournament of her career.
"Definitely it's not about my match today, it's about her," Halep said on court, per the WTA website. "I'm really happy I can play the last match against her. We talked in Dubai about this moment; it was pretty emotional back then, but now it's double.
I really want to congratulate you for the whole life in tennis. We will miss you and good luck for the future. Holiday first, and then think about anything that you want. Thank you for everything."
Flipkens enjoyed playing Halep
Flipkens had a 5-2 lead in the first set but then suffered a collapse as Halep claimed baco-to-back breaks and won five games in a row to overturn the deficit and steal the opener.
After losing the first set, Flipkens claimed an early second set break and opened a 4-1 lead. Once again, Flipkens suffered a collapse as Halep claimed back-to-back breaks and won five games in a row to complete a straight-set win.
"I was enjoying myself on court from first ball until the last, and it was a special feeling going out there. Then, yeah, was a tough one to handle. To be playing a great champion like Simona for my last match, on a court like that with a crowd like that, I would have signed for that before," Flipkens said. Flipkens finished her career without a win over Halep as the Romanian won each of their six meetings.