Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has won on Saturday the WTA tournament in Madrid, with total prizes of USD 5,439,350 for the second consecutive year after defeating Kristina Mladenovic (France) 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
Despite being visibly hampered by a lower back injury, Mladenovic bravely pushed Halep the distance but didn’t have enough in the tank for the final set, falling 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2, wtatennis.com reports.
Already the first woman in tournament history to reach three finals, Halep is just the second player to win back-to-back Madrid after Serena Williams did so in 2012-2013.
With the victory Halep not only extends her clay court winning record to 22 victories in 25 matches, but she also vaults into the No.8 spot on the Porsche Race to Singapore.
Halep is the first woman to reach the final three times, having made the final in 2015 in addition to taking home the title last year
Mladenovic, seeded 17th, forced a deciding set despite appearing to struggle with a back injury, BBC informs.
Halep’s frustration in the second set was clear when she kicked her racquet into the path of a ball boy and received a code violation.
However, the world number eight came through to clinch victory after two hours and 43 minutes. She has now won 22 of her last 25 matches on clay and will head into the French Open later this month as one of the favourites for the title.
Last year Halep defeated Dominika Cibulkova in two hours and 44 minutes to grab the second title in Madrid. This is Halep’s 15th WTA title.