World number two Simona Halep is just one win away from retaking the numero-uno spot in the WTA rankings after she booked her place in the finals of the Madrid Open with a victory over unseeded Belinda Bencic in the last-four clash of the tournament on Friday.
The third-seed Romanian produced a spirited performance as she rebounded strongly from a set down to clinch a 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-0 triumph over Swiss tennis star Bencic in a thrilling semi-final clash of the women's singles event that lasted one hour and 57 minutes.
Reflecting on the clash, Halep was quoted by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) as saying, "It is normal at this level, I expect tough matches all the time. I was lucky that during the week I had short matches. But always when I step on the court I'm ready for a three-hour match, so I'm okay."
Bencic, on the other hand, admitted that Halep played the entire clash better than her, but was glad to give the Romanian a tough fight.
"I found Simona was playing better than me the whole match.But overall, I’m pretty happy how I fought. I found that I defended pretty good. It was opposite today, I was mostly the defense, and Simona was the aggressive one, so I think that makes the difference as well," Bencic said.
Notably, Halep has defeated Bencic for the first time since the first clash between the duo during the third round of Wimbledon 2014.
The Romanian, who is now just one away from reclaiming the top-ranked spot for the first time since Japan's Naomi Osaka dethroned her in January, will next lock horns with the winner of another semi-final clash between America's Sloane Stephens and Netherland's Kiki Bertens.