Halep beats Cibulkova to win Madrid Open

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

MADRID— Ro­ma­nia’s Si­mona Halep sealed her first ti­tle in 14 months with a 6- 2, 6- 4 win over Do­minika Cibulkova to claim the Madrid Open on Satur­day.

Halep stormed through the first set in half an hour and needed just one break in the first game of the sec­ond to win her first tour­na­ment since In­dian Wells last year.

Vic­tory will move Halep up from sev­enth to fifth in the world when the lat­est rank­ings are re­leased on Mon­day while vic­tory is also a timely boost ahead of the French Open which starts in two weeks.“The most im­por­tant thing is that I played good tennis here. My best ac­tu­ally, my best level,” said Halep.

“It was amaz­ing on court. I just want to keep that feel­ing for long time.”

Af­ter an in­con­sis­tent sea­son, Halep looked close to the form that made her world num­ber two last year and made the most of a col­laps­ing field as she didn’t have to face a top ten player on her route to the ti­tle.

“Day- by- day I played bet­ter tennis. That helped me a lot to im­prove men­tally and to be more con­fi­dent. “That’s why maybe I could win al­most in two sets all the matches.”

At 38 in the world, Cibulkova was the lowest player to reach a premier manda­tory WTA tour­na­ment in seven years and she was blown away early on by the con­sis­tency and depth of Halep’s ground strokes.

How­ever, the Slo­vakian was keen to look on the bright side of a week that saw her rise to 26 in the world hav­ing been as low as 66 in Fe­bru­ary. I don’t want this loss to get into the great feel­ings of this week,” said Cibulkova. “I just want to get some rest and pre­pare for Roland Gar­ros be­cause my game on clay re­ally came to­gether.

“I didn’t get into Rome be­cause there was my old rank­ing — 56 be­fore I won Ka­tow­ice — so I stayed last out and I with­draw from qual­i­fy­ing.”

Halep won seven of the first eight points on her way to open­ing up a 5- 1 lead.

The 2014 French Open fi­nal­ist then had to fend off three break points on her way to seal­ing the set 6- 2, but im­me­di­ately took con­trol of the sec­ond by break­ing in the open­ing game.

Cibulkova had her chance

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