WTA Madrid: Simona Halep edges closer to defending her title

Simona Halep strolled through in what could have been a very tricky match-up against Coco Vandeweghe in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open as she conceded just two games, winning more than 76 percent of first service points, hitting 11 winners and just three unforced errors along the way.

Halep puts up a perfect display

It looked like a tight match from the first point onwards as both players played some aggressive tennis to start the match with, and held their opening service games to leave the scores level at 1-1. This was when Halep started to go on a roll as her offensive style of tennis started to be at a destructive level and Vandeweghe was having troubles in all aspects of the game, especially when the Romanian is playing her best tennis. The Top 10 player made the first breakthrough in the fourth game as she played some world-class tennis, with her solid defense aiding her a greatly in that game to go against Vandeweghe’s strong serve and impatient bullet-like groundstrokes.

Simona Halep's serve was clinical today | Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep's serve was clinical today | Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images Europe

This forced her to make unforced errors which cost her the first service break of the match. Despite hitting her first unforced error of the match, it did not hinder Halep from consolidating the break as she continued to stroll through the match. Her clay court masterclass was shown when she broke serve once more in the sixth game to earn the golden opportunity of serving for the first set, which she dutifully took as she comfortably served out the set after just a mere 26 minutes.

Halep strolls to victory

Carrying over the momentum from the first set, Halep continued to frustrate Vandeweghe with her formidable offense and solid defense as she broke serve for the third time in the match and took the comfortable lead on the scoreboard. Surprisingly, the American won more than one point in Halep’s service game for the first time in the match as she unexpectedly went up 0-40 on the return and looked on course to break straight back. However, her efforts were all in vain as she threw in three consecutive unforced errors and eventually allowed Halep to narrowly consolidate the break and open up a 2-0 lead.

Coco Vandeweghe was too impatient today | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe
Coco Vandeweghe was too impatient when on the offense today | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Failure to convert the break points proved to be costly for Vandeweghe as she was broken for the fourth straight time in the match, falling behind a set and a double break as the win looked certain for Halep. The defending champion managed to back up the break with yet another comfortable service hold, extending her lead to four games as she continued her winning streak to nine consecutive games won. Vandeweghe finally got herself on the scoreboard in the second set as she earned her first service hold since her opening service game of the match, preventing a total whitewash.

Just when Halep was up 30-0 in the next game, rain started to pour down as play was forced to be interrupted to close the roof. Halep’s momentum was almost affected as she was brought to deuce for just the second time in the match, but managed to regain her composure in time to hold her serve and be just one game away from victory. Serving to stay in the match, Vandeweghe continues to be outclassed by Halep as the Romanian hit a perfect forehand passing winner to close the match out in exactly one hour of play.

Simona Halep hits a backhand volley | Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images Europe
Simona Halep hits a backhand volley | Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images Europe