May 20, 2017 / 1:05 PM / 6 months ago

Halep cruises into Italian Open final

(Reuters) - Romania’s Simona Halep made light of heavy conditions to cruise into the Italian Open final with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Dutch 15th seed Kiki Bertens on Saturday.

Tennis - ATP - Rome Open - Simona Halep of Romania v Kiki Bertens of Netherlands - Rome, Italy - 20/5/17. Halep returns the ball. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

The sixth seed, a winner in Madrid last weekend for the second year in a row, will meet either Spain’s French Open champion Garbine Muguruza or Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in Sunday’s final.

The win was Halep’s 12th on clay this season and she made sure of her first Rome final in an hour and 17 minutes at the Foro Italico, with the start delayed by half an hour due to overnight rain.

After a hard-fought first set, with Bertens having her chances and saving five set points to hold serve and take it to 4-5 before then breaking Halep, the Romanian broke back and served out cleanly.

She then romped to a 4-0 lead in the second set before Bertens held serve. But there was no holding off Halep, who made only one unforced error in the set and wrapped up the victory as the skies opened again.

”I feel happy we could finish actually,“ said Halep. ”It’s really tough to stop because of the rain but here we are, I‘m in the final and it’s really nice.

“I feel very confident and coming from Madrid with the title makes me stronger on court, also mentally... I feel great and just want to keep playing and why not try to win this title.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ken Ferris

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