Halep sees off Bencic to reach Madrid Open final

Novak Djokovic lifts his arms to the sky

After year after failing in this very final, Kiki Bertens picked up the biggest title of her career Sunday in Madrid beating Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4.

The 23-time grand slam champion will do battle with her older sibling 21 years after their only other previous match in Rome, which Venus won at the quarter-final stage.

Tsitsipas ended Rafael Nadal's hopes of claiming a sixth Madrid Open title, defeating the Spaniard 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in front of his own support.

But losing in the title match denied Halep her 19th career title and keeps her from regaining the World No. 1 ranking. In contrast, Bencic's only clay semi-final came in Charleston in 2014, despite having won the junior French Open in 2013. She skipped the event in the next three seasons. The Swiss opened with a fine touch volley victor, and she edged to 3-0 with a backhand return-of-serve victor. Bencic defeated Alison Van Uytvanck, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kateryna Kozlova before meeting Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals.

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Serena Williams will face her sister Venus in the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia after they secured contrasting first-round victories on Monday. WTA Madrid final - Percentages Simona Halep 51% Kiki Bertens 49%.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, it was a tight and nervy start from both women, first Halep with a break and a 2-0 lead, then a break back for 2-2.

But Bertens more than played her part, a deserving victor and the first woman ever to win the title without even dropping a set.

A shot from Bertens was heading way out and would have handed Halep two break points but the wayward ball struck the Romanian's body, earning her opponent a fortuitous point that eventually led to her holding serve.

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Bertens fell behind 2-4 early, but reeled off four straight games to win the first set. The battle of exchanging breaks continued as the two exchanged breaks for the third time in the match in the 4th and 5th game of the second set.

But, as well as Federer and Nadal, Tsitsipas has now beaten Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, both twice, and Djokovic, whom he played on hard court in Canada previous year and prevailed in three sets.

Third-seeded Halep found herself in an unusual semifinal against unseeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

Osaka fell for the second time in two months to Federer's Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic, exiting 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. Bencic could not handle a vicious return to her feet, netted a volley-her first net error in 13-and Halep broke.

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