Simona Halep had a career highlight on Saturday afternoon in Madrid.
The Romanian successfully defended a WTA title for the first time when she defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2 to win her second Madrid Open title.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) May 14, 2017
The win came after a gruelling two hour, 44 minute contest that pushed both players to the peak of their abilities.
The final point total in this final: Halep with 118 points, Mladenovic with 112. It could not have been tighter. Halep was able to edge ahead by serving an impressive first serve percentage – 81% to Mladenovic’s 57%. Halep’s tidy game (23 winners) was able to secure the win.
Mladenovic’s numbers were just as impressive, although she hit more unforced errors than Halep hit winners. Mladenovic finished the match with a stunning 40 winners but also had 30 unforced errors and was broken five times in the match. The aggressive game style proved no match for Halep’s quickness around the court and resilience to keep getting the ball back over the net.
Sees off Mladenovic 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2! pic.twitter.com/b6nBV8juGa
— WTA (@WTA) May 13, 2017
Halep’s road to the title included wins over Kristyna Pliskova, Roberta Vinci, Samantha Stosur, CoCo Vandeweghe, Anastasia Sevastova and Mladenovic. This is Halep’s 14th career title and first of the 2017 season. Halep has now won at least one title per year dating back to 2013.
With the victory, Halep remains in the WTA Top 5.
Halep has found much success on the North American hard courts, as well. The Romanian appeared in the Rogers Cup final in 2015 – she retired in the third set against Belinda Bencic with an injury – and she claimed the title in Montreal last year. She will return to Toronto in August as the defending champion.
Click here for your tickets to see Simona Halep and the rest of the WTA in Toronto from August 5-13 at Rogers Cup.
Feature photo via Madrid Open.