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Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates a win at the Australian Open In January.  Saturday she plays in the finals of the Madrid open. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates a win at the Australian Open In January.  Saturday she plays in the finals of the Madrid open. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)|Associated Press
Tennis

WTA Tennis Saturday: Abrams picks the Mutua Madrid Open Women’s Final -- Simona Halep vs. Kiki Bertens

The match is at 12:30 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

2019 Mutua Madrid Open
Madrid, Spain
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Women’s Finals

Simona Halep over Kiki Bertens
This Women’s Final is going to be a real blockbuster as Simona Halep takes on Kiki Bertens for the title here in Madrid. Both players belong here because they are the two women who have played the best this week, and this will be a fun battle to witness.

Halep hasn’t really been challenged this week. She dropped her first set of the tournament by losing a second set tiebreaker to Belinda Bencic, but quickly followed that up by whitewashing the Swiss 6-0 in the third to put her stamp on that encounter. She’s rolling, and when she rolls she’s full of confidence. When she’s full of confidence Halep doesn’t lose. She must be beaten.

Kiki Bertens, if possible, has been as dominant as her Romanian opponent has been. After suffocating Petra Kvitova in two quick sets in the quarters, Bertens was clearly the better player when she took care of American Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5 in today’s semis. The outcome was never really in doubt, and the fact that Stephens put up a bit of a fight in the second set was more a testament to her than it was a window into anything negative that Bertens did. Bertens struck the ball cleanly, with very little topspin, and this took time away from the Yank. Bertens was just on her game, as she has been all week.

I like Halep in the finals because I think she’s a tougher fighter than Bertens. Halep is like a junkyard dog. When she sinks her teeth into you she must be killed to be stopped. And Bertens won’t kill her.