WTA Cincinnati: Garbine Muguruza denies Simona Halep for dominant final win

Simona Halep's bid to become number one in the world fell just short, or well short, as she was blown out in the Cincinnati final by Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.

WTA Cincinnati: Garbine Muguruza denies Simona Halep for dominant final win
Garbine Muguruza holds the trophy after winning in Cincinnati. Photo: Noel Alberto
Garbine Muguruza
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Simona Halep

Garbine Mugurza made it look in easy in her first hard court final in nearly two years, demolishing world number one hopeful Simona Halep 6-1, 6-0 to win the Western and Southern Open. Halep was hoping to become the number one player in the world with a victory, but struggled to find the court under the constant pressure of a Muguruza onslaught, as the Spaniard was perfect from start to finish, needing under an hour to claim the title.

Garbine’s good start

The match was expected to be a grinder’s battle as two of the most consistent baseliners on the tour took to the court with the title on the line. In the early stages, it was just that, with Muguruza’s slightly more powerful groundstrokes making the difference. She would fight to 30-40 in Halep’s opening service game and claimed the break when the Romanian netted her forehand. The Romanian was struggling to establish any kind of rhythm in the early stages, at one point smacking a ball in frustration after an unforced error.

Simona Halep rips a backhand during her finals defeat. Photo: Noel Alberto
Simona Halep rips a backhand during her finals defeat. Photo: Noel Alberto

At 1-4, the errors continued to fly off of Halep’s racquet, giving Muguruza a double break point. A frustrated Halep double faulted to hand her opponent the double break lead. The Romanian had had no answer to Muguruza’s serve throughout the opening set and the seventh game was no different, as the Spaniard easily held to take the opening set after only 23 minutes.

Muguruza powers to title

The Romanian was unable to rally herself between sets and a series of errors in the opening game of the second set put her down 15-40. She once again sent a forehand long to fall behind an early break. Halep would start to show signs of turning things around in the next game as she pushed Muguruza to deuce for the first time in the match, but the Spaniard still held. The Spaniard bounced right back in the following game, taking advantage of even more errors from Halep to seal a double break.

Garbine Muguruza pumps her fist on her way to victory in Cincinnati. Photo: Noel Alberto
Garbine Muguruza pumps her fist on her way to victory in Cincinnati. Photo: Noel Alberto

The next game would be Halep’s best chance to get herself back into the match, as she took a 0-30 lead on Muguruza’s serve before holding her first break point at 30-40. However, as it had all match, the forehand let her down as the Romanian sent it into the net. After a few deuces, she had a second chance when Muguruza netted a backhand, but the Spaniard come up big on break point, crushing a forehand which she followed into the net for an easy volley winner. She would hold and quickly punished Halep again, claiming a third break in the next game to move to within a game of victory. Serving for the title, Muguruza cruised, holding to love.

By the numbers

Perhaps the most shocking statistic of the match was Halep’s second serve win percentage. The Romanian only won one point after missing her first serve. Her first serve was not much better, as she only won 42 percent of those points. In total, the Romanian only won 11 (of 31) of her total service points. Muguruza, on the other hand, won 68 percent of her first serve points and 69 percent of her seconds. She saved both break points that she faced will converting five of her six on Halep’s serve. Halep committed an unforced error on every break point on her own serve except for the one that she saved.

Muguruza (right) and Halep pose with their trophies after the Spaniard's 6-1, 6-0 victory. Photo: Noel Alberto
Muguruza (right) and Halep pose with their trophies after the Spaniard's 6-1, 6-0 victory. Photo: Noel Alberto

The title is Muguruza’s second of the year (along with Wimbledon), second premier title, third hard court title and fifth title overall. She will rise to number three in the world on Monday. The 6-1, 6-0 scoreline is the biggest win in a final of her career. Conversely, it is the biggest loss in a final of Halep’s career. The Romanian will remain number two in the rankings on Monday, five points back of number one Karolina Pliskova.

Both women will have a chance to claim the number one ranking at the upcoming US Open.