Kiki Bertens produced the performance of a lifetime to beat world number one Simona Halep and claim the Cincinnati Masters title. The 26-year-old held off a championship point before eventually coming from behind to beat Halep, who has now lost three finals in Cincinnati 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in two hours and five minutes.
Speaking straight after becoming the first Dutch winner at a singles WTA/ATP hardcourt tournament since 2006, Bertens said: “I cannot find the words for this moment.”
Bertens saved a championship point in the second set tie break before levelling matters at 1-1 and then raced into a 4-1 lead in the decider.
Halep was gracious in defeat, paying tribute to her opponent and vowing to return to win the title one day in the future.
“I was a little bit tired, but it was an amazing week,” said Halep. “Kiki really deserved this title. I have lost three finals here but maybe I’ll be able to win one in the future.”
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