Cincinnati - Dutch challenger Kiki Bertens profited from a
third-set collapse by Simona Halep to score the biggest win of her career
Sunday, beating the world number one 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 in the Cincinnati WTA
"This is the best day of my career, winning on a
surface that you didn't really like. That's a great feeling," Bertens
"I'm just so proud, and it's such a great feeling to
hold the trophy at the end of the week."
Halep, who claimed the Montreal title a week ago and came into
the final on a nine-match winning streak, ran out of reserves and was unable to
stop the mounting Bertens momentum.
"I've lost three finals here, but maybe I will able to
win one at this tournament because I love to play here," said Halep, who
fell to Serena Williams in the 2015 final of the hardcourt US Open tune-up and
to Garbine Muguruza in the title match last year.
"I had match ball, so I was there," Helep said.
"I didn't take my chance. In the third set I was empty and I couldn't
The upset took just over two hours and marked the 10th time
this season that 17th-ranked Bertens has defeated a top 10 opponent.
"It was such a tough match, and after winning that
second set I knew, anything is still possible - just keep on going," said
Bertens, who claimed a sixth career WTA title.
"Winning a title like this, my first hard court title,
and against number one of the world, getting my career high on Monday ... it's
just coming everything together, I guess," she added.
Bertens saved a Halep match point in the second-set
tiebreaker to stay alive.
"I'm a little bit upset because I couldn't manage
better today, but that's it. I'm like this, and I have to work more,"
Halep had looked like ending a quick afternoon with a
victory after breaking Bertens twice to sweep the first set.
But the 26-year-old Dutchwoman, who had considered retiring
last season due to poor results, began to turn the tide in the second as she
broke for a 3-1 lead.
Halep got that break back in the eighth game to make it
4-all, and took tighter control in the tiebreaker.
But Bertens won four games in the decider to take a 4-2 lead
and quickly seized the set seconds after saving the match point.
Halep seriously faded in the final set, going down two
breaks to trail 1-4.
Bertens kept up the pressure and advanced with a winner on
her first match point, posting her second career win over Hale six years after
beating her for the first time.
The depleted Halep is still entered as top seed in the
upcoming WTA tournament in New Haven, which ends just two days prior to the
start of the US Open in New York.
While not specifying if she will actually play, Halep said
she would travel to Connecticut on Monday.
"For sure I need a little bit of rest because I'm
"But also I take the positive from these two
weeks," she added. "It's a great confidence (builder), and I'm
looking forward actually for the next one to be better on court."
Results from the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters tournament on Sunday (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x10) bt Roger Federer (SUI x2) 6-4, 6-4
Kiki Bertens (NED) bt Simona Halep (ROM x1) 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2