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Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Halep outlasts determined Mladenovic to retain Madrid title


The defending champion thrashed this year's Australian Open semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe, 6-1, 6-1 and despite going a break down in the second set, Halep eased past last year's US Open quarterfinalist Anastasija Sevastova, 6-2, 6-3 to reach her third Mutua Madrid Open final in four years.

Despite a strong start from the Latvian, world number eight Halep reeled off five straight games to win the first set. She will still be World No. 14 by next Monday (+3 than last week).

The Frenchwoman finally broke through at 5-4, taking advantage of pair of errors from Kuznetsova to earn the lead and then serve out the opening set.

Unseeded Sevastova was playing her first semi-final at premier mandatory level, the grade immediately below grand slam tournaments. Sevastova defeated Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3.

Mladenovic made it to her fourth final of the year- and second consecutive - by defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russian Federation 6-4, 7-6 (4). Halep gained her first victory over Mladenovic in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in 2015 in three tight sets. I don't want to remember the feeling that I had in the court. Her game suits perfectly on clay, I would say.

Halep had a good run in Madrid again this year. She might have gone to a third set in her opener against Ana Konjuh, but the Croatian retired, but she did have to fight through three sets against Lauren Davis before coasting up to the quarter-finals.

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