Tennis: Halep ended Madrid dream, targets Rome


Simona Halep had a dream week in Madrid last week, but the dream ended on Sunday in the final against more experienced Maria Sharapova. It was 1-6, 6-2,6-3 when, after a perfect set for Simona, Maria Sharapova found her very best tennis to overcome Simona and win the Mutua Madrid Open. Now Simona looks forward this week to the Rome tournament where she did a big performance last year, reaching the semis.
It didn’t look like Sharapova would do it after the first set. Their winners were comparable – Sharapova led that stat 4-3 – but she also had three times as many errors, 15-5, and Halep cruised, 6-Things swung completely in the other direction from there, though. The shots that were flying on her began finding the court – deep, powerful and overwhelming, as usual – and Sharapova was in complete control over the next two sets, breaking early in both and never looking back to win, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Sharapova now has two WTA titles this year, Stuttgart and Madrid, and 31 WTA titles in her career.
“Simona and I had played a couple of times before, but she’s really on a different level now. I don’t know how I pulled it off. In the first set I wasn’t doing much to hurt her, and that’s the tennis she’s capable of playing – I knew I had to do some different things after the first set to win this match. I don’t take any finals for granted, and every tournament means a lot to me. I came close last year, and I didn’t have a great first set today, but I knew it wasn’t over until the last point was played.”, Sharapova said in the court interview, according to wtatennis.com
Nadal at his 27th title
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal captured his 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday as he fought back from a set and a break down against Kei Nishikori to win the Mutua Madrid Open final, according to the ATP official website. The Spaniard had turned the match around to lead 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 when Nishikori was forced to retire with a back injury.
The Spaniard became the first player to win four Madrid titles, adding to his victories in 2005 (d. Ljubicic), 2010 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Wawrinka). It is his third ATP World Tour trophy of the season, having triumphed in Doha (d. Monfils) and Rio de Janeiro (d. Dolgopolov). The left-hander leads the ATP World Tour with a 30-5 match record on the season.

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