News, Traffic, Weather

Halep beats Kvitova to reach Madrid Open final


MADRID (AP) — Fourth-seeded Simona Halep rallied in hot conditions Saturday to beat former champion Petra Kvitova 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2 and reach the Madrid Open final.

Kvitova, the 2011 winner, looked on course for victory after going 2-0 up in the second set against Halep, who was visibly frustrated after a late call went against her during the first-set tiebreaker.

But Kvitova hit 66 unforced errors and that inconsistency caught up with her as Halep recovered, with the now composed Romanian hitting 22 winners and breaking her Czech opponent four times over the last two sets.

Kvitova struggled in the final set, looking sapped of energy by the end of a match that lasted more than 2 1/2 hours on the clay at the Magic Box.

“It’s been an amazing week for me, I feel very well here in Madrid,” said Halep, who reached her first Masters series final. “I played really well, I was striking the ball really well.”

Maria Sharapova played Agnieszka Radwanska in the other semifinal.

Two-time defending champion Serena Williams pulled out with a thigh injury on Friday.

In the men’s semis, three-time champion Rafael Nadal faced fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut while David Ferrer was up against Kei Nishikori of Japan.