MADRID, Spain - Kiki Bertens put on a clay court masterclass to end No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki’s run at the Mutua Madrid Open - as well as her bid for the WTA World No.1 ranking.
Bertens needed just 60 minutes to claim the biggest scalp of her career by ranking and notch the 6-2, 6-2 victory to move into the quarterfinals in Madrid. She’ll take on the winner between Kristina Mladenovic and Maria Sharapova in her next match.
“It was a really good match, I think one of my best matches ever,” Bertens enthused after the victory. “I’m really happy to be back here in Madrid - I think so far all the matches I’ve played here have been going very well.
“I was just going out there very calm, just going for my shots, and trying to play aggressive where I could… And of course if you hit almost everything in everything feels perfect!”
On paper, it was a matchup between the World No.2 against the World No.20 - but it’s a different story on clay, where Bertens’ best game flourishes. She came into the match with an 8-1 record on the surface - which includes a title at the Premier-level Charleston.
That mastery certainly showed against Wozniacki, who could only manage five winners against Bertens’ 29, and racked up 15 unforced errors to Bertens’ 21. Bertens kept Wozniacki under pressure, and pounced on the second serve, with the Dane only able to win 30% of those points in the match.
Even Bertens herself struggled to sum the quality of her performance: “Today… I don’t know! I was going out there and almost every shot was in, I hit drive volleys, dropshots, almost every shot. That’s not a normal day for me! Hopefully I can have a few more days like this here.”
Bertens had an answer for everything Wozniacki threw her way, dropping serve just once at the start and breaking the Dane five times in return.
After trading breaks early on in the opening set, Bertens settled into untouchable form as she reeled off four games in a row for a double break cushion to get ahead 5-1. She played two love service games to close out the set. She kept it up in the second, breaking early and reeling off the last 10 points in a row to comfortably see off Wozniacki.
For Wozniacki, the defeat means that defending champion Simona Halep retains her spot atop the WTA rankings - Wozniacki, who hadn’t progressed past the Madrid quarterfinals since 2009, would have had to lift the trophy in order to dethrone the Romanian.
Wozniacki will have a second chance to challenge for the No.1 spot next week in Rome, where she’s not defending any points as she didn’t compete in the BNL Internazionali d’Italia last year, while Halep would be defending a run to the final.