Bertens brushes aside Halep to win Madrid Open Bertens brushes aside Halep to win Madrid Open
Kiki Bertens defeated defending champion Simona Halep 6-4 6-4 in the Madrid Open final to climb to number four in the... Bertens brushes aside Halep to win Madrid Open
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Kiky Bertens of the Netherlands celebrates after winning the Madrid Open tennis final against Simona Halep of Romania in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, May 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Kiki Bertens defeated defending champion Simona Halep 6-4 6-4 in the Madrid Open final to climb to number four in the world rankings.

Halep, the winner in Madrid in 2016 and 2017, would have returned to the world number one spot with victory, but Bertens became the first woman to win the title without dropping a set.

The Dutch seventh seed, who knocked out Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova along the way, was on top throughout the final, firing 25 winners and four aces.

Romania’s Halep moved into a 4-2 lead after breaking in the fourth game of the opening set, but Bertens reeled off four straight games to seal it.

Bertens then made it six straight games to open up a 2-0 lead in the second set and, although Halep battled back to level it up, her opponent continued to hit the lines with her ground strokes to regain control.

French Open champion and clay-court specialist Halep was replaced as world number one by Naomi Osaka after the Japanese won the Australian Open in January. Bertens has broken into the top five for the first time to reach her career high.

-PA

Banner minors leave it late
Clare secure safe passage to Munster semi-final meeting with Kerry