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2019 Madrid Open Women’s Singles Final: Simona Halep vs Kiki Bertens, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
Preview
11 May 2019, 10:32 IST

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Seven
Mutua Madrid Open - Day Seven

It is fitting that the two most in-form players in this year’s Madrid Open will face each other in the summit clash. This will be the first title of the year for whoever of the two wins this match. So, there is a lot at stake for either player.

Kiki Bertens and Simona Halep have faced each other four times and have shared the spoils. Their latest match was at last year’s Cincinnati Open final, where Bertens got the better of Halep for the biggest title of her career. Will she be able to do a repeat act and win a second big title by defeating the same opponent for a second straight time? Or, will Halep avenge that loss and win her first title of the season?

Their form book for this tournament has been pretty similar. Both players have the reputation of possessing the best return games on the WTA tour and they have lived up to that challenge, and have broken their opponents’ service games, almost at will.

At the same time, even though neither is known for especially big service games, they have been steady and consistent throughout, giving few opportunities to their opponents to break them. Their consistently impressive performances had ensured that they both had come to the semi-final stage without dropping a single set.

In the semi-final, Bertens continued that rich vein of form by getting the better of Sloane Stephens in straight sets. She broke the American four times, while being broken only once. She returned well - as has been the case throughout this tournament, and served reasonably well, with impressive first and second serve win percentages of 65 and 69, respectively.

On the other hand, though Halep lost a set for the first time this tournament courtesy a second set tie-break against Belinda Bencic, she came back strongly in the deciding third set to bagel her hapless opponent. She broke the Swiss eight times, while being broken three times herself. She served reasonably well, though she would certainly like to improve on her second serve win percentage of fifty two.

The final promises to be a tight contest between two in-form players, and is difficult to call. But more big match experience may just give Halep a slight edge.

Prediction: Simona Halep to win in Three Sets

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