Simona Halep rolled past defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday in the WTA New Haven final, her first hardcourt title coming days before the US Open.
Halep, 21, notched her fourth title of the year, adding it to claycourt titles won at Nuremberg and Budapest and a grasscourt crown at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
The Romanian needed just 66 minutes to defeat Kvitova, the third seed, for her first premier level triumph.
“It was an incredible match for me,” Halep said. “I played very beautiful tennis today. I was enjoying every moment.”
“She played really good also. I’m really happy that I won this match and this tournament,” Halep said. “I am feeling very, very good — it’s an unbelievable period for me this year.”
Kvitova had plenty of early chances, but failed to convert four break points before Halep broke her for a 3-2 led in the opening set.
A double fault by Kvitova’ gave Halep the break opportunity, and the hard-hitting Czech smacked a deep volley long on break point.
“I was very nervous before the match,” Halep said. “I knew she would play very good, but I just wanted to enjoy the match. I tried to be aggressive.”
Halep is seeded 21st at the US Open, where she will be trying to translate her recent success to a Grand Slam.
So far this year she has failed to shine on the game’s major stages, reaching the second round at Wimbledon and falling in the first round at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
Austria’s Juergen Melzer won the Winston-Salem Open on Saturday when Frenchman Gael Monfils retired from their final in North Carolina.
Melzer was leading 6-3, 2-1 when Monfils called it quits, saying he was unable to continue because of a painful left hip.
“He’s such a great player, so I was trying to focus on my things that I’ve been doing well this week,” Melzer said. “I was trying to be aggressive and go to the net as much as I could. The game before he retired he was serving really slowly and I missed a lot of returns because I knew if I broke him it could be the end and you get a little tight.”
Monfils has been plagued by injuries all year and needed medical treatment for a strained left abdomen during his semi-final the previous day.
“After about 50 minutes, I tried to serve at full speed and that was it,” said the former world No. 7. “I felt like something snapped a little bit and it was really painful. It was tough to continue. I will try to get an X-ray tonight and see what’s going on.”
Melzer’s victory provided him with his fifth ATP career title.