?? Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati Final Preview
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Kiki Bertens
Simona Halep will be looking to extend her winning streak and strengthen her hold at the top of the rankings when she takes on Kiki Bertens in Sunday’s final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Halep and Bertens are arguably the two form players over the last month, expect a high quality final between two extremely confident competitors. Halep has had the better of this match-up in the past but this will be their first match on a hard court in almost a decade. Can Bertens take down the world number 1 to win the biggest title of her career?
Simona Halep is on a roll, full of confidence and at the top of her game. Halep arrived in Cincinnati straight from a gruelling final win over Sloane Stephens at the Rogers Cup. It would have been understandable if Halep took this tournament lightly, to the contrary she has been extremely strong on route to her 6th final of the year. The world number 1 made a slow start to the event with a 3 set win over Ajla Tomljanovic before beating Ashleigh Barty, Lesia Tsurenko and Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Halep’s ability to take down a red-hot Sabalenka was certainly a confidence boosting win.
It has been an outstanding month for Kiki Bertens. Bertens arrived in Cincinnati fresh from back-to-back quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup. Bertens rolled through her first couple of matches, beating CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Wozniacki, dropping a combined 6 games. Bertens then required 3 sets to get by Anett Kontaveit in an injury interrupted match before producing her best performance in a straight set demolition of Elina Svitolina. Bertens booked her spot in the final with a gutsy 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova to give herself a chance to win a maiden hard court title.
Halep holds a 3-1 H2H record over Bertens. Halep won the two recent meetings between the pair, both in straight sets: 7-5 6-1 in Rome last year and 6-4 6-3 at Wimbledon in 2016. This will be the first meeting between the two on a hard court in almost 8 years.