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Tennis

Simona Halep cruises to first title in Madrid

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Simona Halep capped a fantastic week in Madrid with her first title in Madrid, as well as her first title of 2016.

The Romanian handled the pressure of being the only top player remaining by the quarterfinals and finished a downright dominant tournament by beating Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-4, in the final. After a shaky year thus far and playing in her first final since August, Halep displayed newfound confidence all week with confident attacking tennis paired with her trademark incredible defense.

Cibulkova by no means played a bad match, she was just unable to consistently hit multiple winner-quality shots in a single point to get through the Halep defense. The pint-sized Slovakian has nothing to hang her head about, as her resurgence post-Achilles injury has her back just outside the top 25 after being ranked 66th a couple months ago.

As for Halep, the title moves her back into the top five, at least for now, bumping year-to-date No. 1 Victoria Azarenka down to sixth. She becomes just the seventh woman with multiple Premier Mandatory titles (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing) since the Premier categories were created in 2009. Only Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova have more.

Though Halep previously made the 2014 French Open final and won Indian Wells last year she proclaimed Saturday “the best day of my life.”

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