By reaching the Mutua Madrid Open final Simona Halep became the first WTA player in the history of the tournament to have reached the title match three times and on Saturday the Romanian went a step further, beating Kristina Mladenovic to become the champion on the clay of the Spanish capital for the second year in a row.
The third-seeded Halep had to work hard to get past the 14th-seeded Mladenovic, who forced the third set despite appearing to struggle with a back injury. France’s Mladenovic, fresh off the big Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final, didn’t have enough left in her tank in the decider and Halep prevailed 7-5 6-7(5) 6-2.
The final was a treat to tennis fans, featuring long rallies, wonderful points, nerve-wrecking moments and intensity. Despite the disappointment of losing, Mladenovic should be proud of her effort in the final and satisfied with everything she has achieved recently — the biggest successes are still ahead of her. Did you know that by now she’s recorded 27 wins this season, while last year she accumulated that many wins by October.
The 2017 Madrid title is 15th WTA title in Halep’s career and now the 25-year-old is heading to the French Open as one of the favorites, having won 22 of her last 25 matches on clay.