Fifth-ranked Simona Halep reached her biggest final to date when she outlasted Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the Mutua Madrid Open 2014 semifinals on Saturday.
Halep, who has never advanced past the opening rounds in the last three editions of this tournament, was at her element when she defeated her Czech oppoonent in two hours and 36 hours. Despite losing the first set, this did not discourage the Romanian player from fighting back. The victory will place her just a win away from achieving a career-high world number four ranking.
Kvitova said she expected a tough match considering that Halep defeated her in the New Haven final in their lone prior meeting last year.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Kvitova said. “She beat me in the New Haven final, so I was looking forward to revenge. It was a long match and was a good fight throughout. She was just better in the end, but it was still a good match for me.”
Halep was ranked 64th this time last year but she’s made amazing progress since then, winning a total of seven titles which propelled her ranking to number five. She will next face Maria Sharapova of Russia in the title match on Sunday.