Serena Williams defeats Simona Halep in an epic Cincinnati final!

It may have been Serena Williams who started the match but it was Simona Halep who got on the board first breaking for a 1-0 lead however another break looked likely at 0-30 however Simona held serve from this position and the match continued to go on serve taking a 3-2 lead after 5 games with just a couple of unforced errors from Halep in the opening couple of games looking very confident. A lovely drop shot/lob combo followed from Serena to set up two break points but then broke for 3-3 after an error from Halep. A hold to love followed and the world number one took a 4-3 lead! 4-3 became 5-3 after Serena broke the Halep serve and served out the set in 31 minutes to take the set 6-3.

Before the set began Halep called on her coach for a chat and started the set very well with a comfortable hold of serve before seeing three set points on the Serena serve before the world number one fought back to deuce before double faulting something she has done a lot this week to give Halep another break point but an ace out wide saved that one. After a difficult start to the set Serena did hold serve with her 11th ace of the match. A double fault at 0-40 is not ideal but it was what happened for Halep as the Romanian went 2-1 down…

Just as it looked like Serena may run away with this credit to Halep who fought back and broke serve before a comfortable hold following that with some good aggressive tennis! On the hour mark a forehand from the centre of the court and Serena levelled for 3-3. A net cord from Serena set up two break points on the Halep serve but the Romanian wasn’t going to give in and held serve for 4-3 following some good serves! An error from Serena confirmed the hold for Simona again at 5-4 and Serena would serve to stay in the set! Serena held serve for 5-5 with the set potentially two games away from a tie-break! Another quick hold of serve followed from Halep and it was over to the world number one to take it to a tie-break! Some incredible forehands from Halep got her to deuce and two points from taking the set but Serena’s serve got her out of trouble and we went to a tie-break…

Both players produced some stunning shots in the opening three points but nothing to separate them at 3-3. It was Serena who went 5-3 up and just two points away from her 5th title of the year…

Halep held for 4-5 and Serena would get two serves to serve it out. An error from Halep and Serena had match points! Incredible! A service return winner from Halep took it to 5-6 but still had a match point to save! A drop shot into the net sealed it for Serena in an incredible battle between the two best players on the tour!

What stood out for me in the match was Serena’s serve which was outstanding throughout the match with 15 aces and two double faults and from Halep the improvement she has shown over the last couple of weeks is incredible, she never gave up and made Serena work for it!

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