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Halep outlasts determined Mladenovic to retain Madrid title

14 May 2017

A determined Simona Halep retained her Madrid Open title by overcoming the courageous Kristina Mladenovic 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 on Saturday.

Third seed Halep was the heavy favourite going into the clash, despite the unseeded Sevastova having not dropped a set en route to the last four.

Injecting more variety into her game, she had Halep scrambling forward and back, left and right as Sevastova swiftly jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

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Sevastova is into her first career semi-final after beating Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-3.

After taking the opener, Mladenovic did not face a break point in the second set. She will need to serve well against Mladenovic, and she will look to dominate proceedings from the baseline and dictate the rallies. I don't want to remember the feeling that I had in the court. Even though I'm leading in our head-to-head, we never played on clay, I think. "So I'm really proud that I could manage all the situations, all the emotions".

Like Halep, Mladenovic won her quarterfinal and semifinal encounters in straight sets. Once again, Mladenovic recorded an impressive victory over Halep in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, 6-3, 6-3.

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She nearly had the keys for the Porsche auto on offer in Stuttgart in her hands, and has been pretty impressive this week.

Halep, who battled past Dominika Cibulkova at this stage 12 months ago, eventually came out on top 7-5 6-7 (5) 6-2 in just short of three hours in an entertaining and hard-fought victory.

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