The Belgian Elise Mertens confirmed her good moment by eliminating the third favorite, the Romanian Simona Halep, in the second round of the Madrid tennis tournament, 4-6, 7-5 and 7-5.
She had already won it once, in the 2019 Doha final, without starting as a favorite either, and on the land of the Magic Box she played a high intensity game, with a good choice of shots at all times. Halep couldn't keep up.
Although the Romanian won the first round, in the second she suffered several bumps that limited her aspirations. Especially when she gave up the second game after leading 40-0 and when she lost her serve to 5-4.
The Romanian, a finalist in 2019 and winner of this tournament in 2016 and 2017, was in tow in the third set. At 6-5 for Mertens, his only hope was to break serve and force a tiebreaker, but he wasn't able to.
For Halep this year is her worst performance in Madrid since 2015, when she lost in the first round.
The Belgian was a finalist in Istanbul before traveling to the Caja Mágica, where she is the thirteenth seed. She will play in the quarterfinals against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who beat American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-2.