MADRID, Spain 12 may 2017
Simona Halep is back into the Mutua Madrid Open final after putting together a commanding victory over Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets.
Sevastova came into their semifinal clash without dropping a set in Madrid, but she didn’t have the answers against Halep’s all-court consistency, falling 6-2, 6-3.
The victory also earns the Romanian a spot in Mutua Madrid Open history; she’s the first woman to reach the final three times, having made the final in 2015 in addition to taking home the title last year.
The pair started off quite evenly matched under the roof at the Manolo Santana Stadium. Halep came into the match with a 3-2 edge in the pair’s tour-level head-to-head record. Two of those victories came on clay, including a 6-0, 6-0 beat down in the final of Bucharest last year, and a routine straight sets win in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Grand Prix earlier this season.
Halep weathered the Latvian’s variety – including her tricky backhand slice and concealed dropshots – to earn the first break at 3-2 after patiently drawing out the errors from her opponent and reeled off five games in a row to take the opening set.
Sevastova switched up her tactics in the second, peppering her game with more dropshots and kept Halep guessing. The gambit paid off, earning the Latvian her first break of the match and a 3-0 lead as the errors started to creep into Halep’s game.
But the joy was short lived as the Romanian learned to read her game and responded in kind, foraying up to the net more and chasing down the short balls. She got right back on track and powered through six games in a row to see off the Latvian and make her way into the Madrid final after an hour and 13 minutes on court.