Wednesday, 24 July, 2019


Ruthless Halep sets up Bertens final in Madrid

Novak Djokovic lifts his arms to the sky Djokovic needed 2hr 22min to wrap up a 7-6 7-6 victory over Thiem Credit Getty Images
Noah Ferguson | 14 May, 2019, 22:43

Top seed Naomi Osaka has suffered a critical defeat at the hands of Belinda Bencic, the Swiss star recording a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open.

She will play Kiki Bertens in the final after the Dutchwoman beat Sloane Stephens 6-2 7-5.

The Belgian saved eight match points to force a decisive tie-break, with Venus unable to shake off an opponent 15 years younger than her.

The 21-year-old added that knowing her top WTA ranking could possibly be in danger after failing to reach the Madrid semi-finals might have played on her mind throughout the match. WTA Madrid final - Percentages Simona Halep 51% Kiki Bertens 49%. She claimed comprehensive victories over Margarita Gasparyan, Johanna Konta, Viktoriya Kuzmova, and Ashleigh Barty, on her course to the semifinals.

Halep is the reigning champion at Roland Garros, but has struggled at major tournaments since her debut victory a year ago. In contrast, Bencic's only clay semi-final came in Charleston in 2014, despite having won the junior French Open in 2013.

And the Romanian began to serve like a woman closer to 6ft than her 5ft6in stature, finding three serve winners to hold for 3-0. I played stupidly today, I did everything that she liked. Surprisingly, the Swiss lead their head-to-head record 2-1.

Bertens more than played her part, becoming a deserving victor and the first woman ever to win the title without even dropping a set.

Osaka fell for the second time in two months to Federer's Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic, exiting 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

The Japanese had another chance to break in the next Bencic and this time she converted when the world number 18 missed a backhand, giving Osaka 3-1 lead.

Bencic defeated Osaka in the quarter-finals to continue her brilliant 2019 but, after edging the second set, was unable to maintain the required consistency to really threaten a repeat against Halep. Stephens was the first player to win more than four games against Bertens in a single set.

Venus finally saw it out after three hours and two minutes on Grandstand Court, ending a contest that included 15 breaks of serve.

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

Simona Halep came back stronger in the final set, winning the final set 6-0.

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