NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Simona Halep upset defending champion Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-2 Saturday to win the New Haven Open, the final WTA tuneup for next week's U.S. Open.
The 21-year-old Romanian broke the 2011 Wimbledon champion in four consecutive service games. The first break gave her a 3-2 lead in the first set. The fourth put her up 3-0 in the second as she took control of the match.
"I played very beautiful tennis today," Halep said. "I was enjoying every moment."
Kvitova had a chance to take charge early in match, up 2-1 and 15-40 on Halep's serve. But Halep won the next three points to save that game. She was down 40-30 in the next game before getting her first service break when Kvitova sent a cross-court forehand just wide. The Czech star never recovered.
Halep didn't give her a chance, committing just four unforced errors in the first set and one in the second set. She put in 74 percent of her first serves and won 78 percent of them.
She converted four of her five break points. The ninth-ranked Kvitova was 0-for-4 on her break chances.
She closed the match by holding Kvitova without a point in the final game, serving an ace and pumping her fists into the air.
"Everything is perfect here," she said.
Halep earned her fourth career win and all have come since June. The 23rd-ranked player improved to 29-5 in her last 34 matches (31-5 counting qualifying matches). Two of her previous wins had come on clay and the other on grass, but she said she actually plays better on the hard courts.
The victory will mover her in the top 20 when the rankings are released on Monday. Her run through New Haven also included victories over Daniela Hantuchova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Ekaterina Makarova and four-time New Haven champion Caroline Wozniacki.
She took home $117,000 along with the trophy.
Kvitova, who earned $62,300, was trying to win the same tournament in consecutive years for the first time in her career.