Bertens stuns world number one Halep for Cincinnati title

Silvia Morton
August 22, 2018

Bertens stormed into her third Premier-level final of the year with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over world No. 8 Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati on Saturday, establishing herself as a serious dark horse for the US Open.

Bertens, world number 17, lost the last five games of the first set but took the second in which there were seven breaks of serve. She also beat the Czech in last week's Rogers Cup third round.

She said: "[I was proud] that I just played so many matches and just keep on going, so many great wins, and that I could really enjoy it.

Bertens came back from the brink against Romania's top seed in an exhausting second set tiebreaker, then won five of the final six games in the decider to lift the sixth and biggest title of her career.

Bertens, victor of a clay-court title in Charleston earlier this year and runner-up to Kvitova in Madrid, will fight for the title in the last major US Open tune-up event against world No. 1 Simona Halep. He's 3-1 against Federer in Grand Slam finals and 12-6 overall in championship matches, including wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2015.

A Bertens crosscourt forehand forced an error wide from Halep, tying the breaker at 6-6.

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A clinical Halep dominated the first set, taking just half an hour to take the opener 6-2. "Before I was like, 'Oh, I play on center court, and a lot of people are watching.' But now I'm just more relaxed".

"I can not find words for this moment", she said.

"I really need to play more aggressive".

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. Halep held her off to hold at 30. The Romanian player was asked in the press conference after her win over Aryna Sabalenka if this kind of achievement from her would be intimidating for her opponent and would also give her a mental edge. "So if I have to feel like this all the time on the court it's better to stop", confessed Bertens on Saturday. Then I said to myself, 'No, I can do this. About emotional part, I'm a little bit upset because I couldn't manage better today, but that's it.

"If I fight like I've done here, I will have a big chance", Halep said.

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