Simona Halep was convincing and unforgiving in the women’s final against Dominika Cibulkova. 1 hour and 20 minutes is all the Romanian player needed for a 6-2, 6-4 victory in the Manolo Santana Stadium, with the roof closed due to rain. She was never behind and barely suffered any scares.
In just 45 minutes, the world number 7 was already 6-2, 2-1 up and well on her way to her first triumph at the Mutua Madrid Open. In the second set, which was a little tighter, the Slovak player had more chances and enjoyed a few break points, which she was unable to convert. However, the Romanian’s experience was too much for Cibulkova and she stormed to the title. The world number 38, Dominika Cibulkova was one of the week’s many surprise packages in a week of unexpected defeats of seeds such as Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber and Garbiñe Muguruza, health issues for Serena Williams and the Spanish Carla Suárez and an injury for Victoria Azarenka, as well as the discovery of US player Louisa Chirico and Cibulkova herself as new names to take into account for this season’s upcoming tournaments.
“Now I have more confidence in myself” said Halep on court, “this win will help me believe more in myself”, added the Romanian, who succeeds Petra Kvitova as the tournament’s champion.
The victory means that Halep has her first title of 2016, the twelfth of her career, and will now climb to fifth position in the WTA rankings. It is also her first win in the Caja Mágica after the three-set defeat to Maria Sharapova in 2014.