The 2019 Mutua Madrid Open is drawing to a close with Saturday’s singles locked in between arguably the two best clay-courters on the WTA tour right now. The final between Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens will be played at not before 6:30pm local time in Madrid (5:30pm UK time). Read on for the highlights from Friday’s semi-finals, as well as a preview of Saturday’s final.
Semi-final match reviews 🎾
Simona Halep d. Belinda Bencic, 6-2 6-7(2) 6-0
Halep is into her fourth Madrid final after ending Bencic’s 100% record in 2019 against top five players. It was the first time that Halep has dropped a set this week but she played another strong match, ending proceedings with a bagel third set.
Halep ran away with the opener from 2-2, winning 16 of the last 20 points, as she hit down-the-line with intent. Definitely a sign that Simona was feeling confident. Credit to Bencic for getting stuck into the second set as it looked like Halep may cruise at the start of the second set. Bencic played an excellent tiebreak to force a decider but was unable to make a meaningful impact as Halep sailed through the third set to score the win in one hour and 57 minutes.
I’ve been impressed with Halep’s resilience this week. Aside from the match against Kuzmova, she’s had some tricky moments in all of her matches and she’s handled them well and been very steady for the most part. The serve again was key for Halep in her semi-final as she landed 71% of first serves in play and won 63% of points behind it.
Kiki Bertens d. Sloane Stephens, 6-2 7-5
Bertens made it back-to-back finals in Madrid with her first ever win over Madrid. A visibly fatigued, Bertens was on the verge of tears at the end of the match. While it was a pretty miserable match and error-strewn from both, Bertens showed a lot of spirit in the second set as she came from 2-4 down, saved three set points at *4-5 *0-40 and eventually served out the match in convincing fashion.
Point of the day 👏
Halep at her very best.
Press highlights 📰
Halep’s semi-final press conference is linked below.
Recommended reading 📚
Something different – former WTA player, Jill Craybas, has created a brand of chocolates!
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Halep vs. Bertens is a fitting final for the third Premier Mandatory tournament of 2019. Both have had pretty smooth runs through the tournament – Halep dropped her first set of the tournament to Bencic in the semi-finals, while Bertens is yet to drop a set, saving set points in her semi-final win over Stephens.
Halep leads Bertens in their H2H, 3-2. The pair are 1-1 on clay and Bertens won their most recent match in the final of Cincy last year, a bruising encounter that saw Bertens rally from a set down to win, 2-6 7-6(6) 6-2.
I think this match could come down who can outlast the other. Bertens was my instinct to win but i’m a little concerned about whether she can recover as she said “every muscle in my body hurts” on a changeover with her coach during her semi-final against Stephens. It’s a final though so adrenaline will be running high. Halep has had a cold all week in Madrid and been saying that she is not 100% so I don’t think either will be feeling totally fresh.
Hopeful for a cracker 🤞