Kiki Bertens is the final name in the semi-finals at this year’s Mutua Madrid Open. In what was a rematch of the 2018 final, Bertens got her revenge and knocked out the three-time champion of Madrid, Petra Kvitova with some exceptional tennis, 6-2, 6-3, in one hour and twenty minutes of play.
Since the two players met last season in the Manolo Santana Stadium, matches between them have been commonplace in the later rounds on tour. This time, Kvitova struggled to get into the match, making a lot of unforced errors by overshooting the baseline.
Bertens took advantage of her opponent’s struggles to break the second seed’s serve and take a 3-2 lead in the set. In the next game, Kvitova had two break points that she was unable to capitalise on, again because of unforced errors. On the other hand, Bertens did manage to convert the one she earned in the seventh game to seal the set.
The second began as the first ended, with Bertens letting fly and breaking Kvitova at the first opportunity. But the three-time Madrid champion was not about to go out in the quarters without a fight and she dug deep to break Bertens for the first time in the match and level the set (3-3).
Kvitova’s joy however, was short-lived as Bertens broke back with some returns that hugged the lines. The Czech tried everything, but Bertens gave her adversary no chance on her serve and closed out the match with some stunning tennis to reach the penultimate round in the Caja Mágica for the second year on the trot.
Earlier, in the Arantxa Sánchez Stadium, Sloane Stephens had already found her way to the semi-finals by beating the Croatian Petra Martic 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and twenty minutes of play. Stephens, who had previously never got past the round of sixteen in the Madrid, continues to show that she is one of the best prepared players early in this clay season.
The eighth seed had won all of her previous meetings with Martic and it was more of the same in Madrid. In the Arantxa Sánchez Stadium, Stephens had her way against a Croatian player who gave her all but was unable to fend off the American.
Martic, who benefitted from the withdrawal of her opponents in the second round and the last sixteen to progress, was evidently lacking game time and struggled to find her rhythm. Even so, it was not until the tenth game in the first set that Stephens managed to break her serve.
It was a similar story in the second set. The North American managed to break Martic’s serve in the fourth game, having wasted two previous break points. At a break up, Stephens’ solid serving was enough to win the set and take her to her first ever semi-final in Madrid.
Stephens and Bertens have only met twice during their careers and both ties went to the North American. However, the Dutch player already knows what it is to play in a final in Madrid. Tomorrow at 20:00 we will see which of the two will be this year’s second finalist.