Madrid: Kiki Bertens won the biggest title of her career on Saturday, beating Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4 in the Madrid Open final while also becoming the first woman ever to win the championship without dropping a set.
Making up for her loss in last year’s final to Petra Kvitova, the clay court triumph ensured the Dutchwoman Bertens will move to a career-best fourth in the world rankings on Monday and become the highest-ranked Dutchwoman in history.
The defeat was extra painful for Halep, though, who would have regained her No. 1 ranking had she won the showpiece.
Bertens came back from 4-2 down in the first set against French Open champion Halep by winning the next three games, striking the first blow in a gripping final full of drama which lasted one hour and 27 minutes.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, meanwhile, pulled off one of the biggest wins of his short but remarkable career by beating Rafael Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 on Spanish soil on Saturday to book his place in the Madrid Open final against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Tsitsipas, 20, had never won a set in his previous three meetings against claycourt specialist and 11-time French Open champion Nadal, but the Greek drew first blood by saving a break point to hold in the 10th game and take the first set.
He broke Nadal six times in the epic three-setter played late into the Madrid night, lasting two hours and 34 minutes, while saving 11 of the 16 break points he conceded to his opponent.