Last year’s runner-up Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands was a more solid player in today’s Mutua Madrid Open final against two-time champion Simona Halep, beating the Romanian 6-4 6-4 to become the first woman to win the tournament without losing a set.
Playing the Madrid final for the fourth time, the third-seeded Halep built a 4-2 lead in the first set, before Bertens won six games in a row to take the opening set and go 2-0 in the second. Halep did manage to make things even in the second set, breaking back to 2-2, but Bertens responded with another break and held on to it until the very end.
— WTA (@WTA) May 11, 2019
The seventh-seeded Bertens was a stronger player for the most part, even though initially Halep had the upper hand as she was leading until midway through the first set. Halep also had less luck, as we could see in one point when she was trying to earn a break point to level to 4-4 in the second set and she simply couldn’t escape Bertens’ ball that was going out, so it hit her body and the point was Bertens’.
Had the 27-year-old Halep won the Madrid title for the third time in her career, she would’ve returned to the No.1 WTA ranking, dethroning Naomi Osaka. Remembering how long it took Halep to finally become No.1 in October 2017, I’m wondering whether she is a player with the greatest number of lost chances to ascend to the top ranking. Today’s match is only worsening those stats.
On the other hand, Bertens, on top of making Madrid history by becoming the first ever WTA champion without a loss of a set, has also ensured a rise to the No.4 ranking, the highest ever for a woman from her country. To make the achievement event greater, the list of Bertens’ victims this week en route to her ninth career title includes five Grand Slam champions — Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, and doubles champion Katerina Siniakova.