After year after failing in this very final, Kiki Bertens picked up the biggest title of her career Sunday in Madrid beating Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4.
Bertens won the title, her 9th, without losing a single set, and along the way she beat Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko.
“I’m just really happy,” Bertens said. “I think after every title you feel something, of course. Sometimes it’s a lot of emotions. Sometimes it is really happiness. Sometimes it’s just like not believing. But right now, I don’t know yet how I feel. I just feel really happy.
“I am really proud of this week. I played some good tennis. No. 4 in the world on Monday, so it’s, yeah. I don’t know, it is just all amazing things.”
Halep led early by 3-1 before Bertens came back winning five of the last six games of the first set.
Bertens broke late in the second then hung on in a tight final game, saving break points, to win it in almost disbelief.
“I think I played very solid today,” Bertens said. “I think at the beginning, I was a little bit searching for my game still, but I think the rest of the match I played really solid, really smart, and I was just going for my shots.
“Maybe a little bit lucky like on the 4-3 game when I hit the ball in the fence and it hit her, but sometimes you need a little luck,” she laughed. “But no, I’m just happy how I was able to finish the match.”
The 7th-ranked Bertens will vault to a career-high No. 4 becoming the first Dutchwoman to crack the Top 5.
Halep, who had won Madrid twice, suffered her second loss in this final. She got a high percentage of first serve in (87%), but won just 52% of first offerings and only 42% of second.
Bertens also led 25 winners to Halep’s 9 en route to her second straight big win over the Romanian in the final after Cincinnati last summer.
“I think she played better tennis tonight,” Halep said. “She deserved to win the match definitely.
“About my game, I think I played wrong, and I’m upset about that. But I’m not going to make a drama. I’m just thinking for the next one, when I will play against her, to change some things.
“I played like a stupid today, everything that she liked,” she added. “But it’s happening sometimes and I can take all the positives from this week.”
Halep, who would have returned to No. 1 with a win today, now heads to Rome and then has her French Open title defense.
“Well, I have no idea how it will be in the next weeks, but in this moment, I’m happy with my game, I’m happy that I could go through this week,” Halep said. “It was a tough week. I’m confident, so we will see.
“I like Rome. I like Paris. But you never know with tennis, so I’m ready for anything.”
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