A fatigued Simona Halep said she “gave up” in the Cincinnati Masters final against Kiki Bertens.
After failing to convert a match point in her three-set loss to Kiki Bertens, the Rogers Cup champion admitted a lack of energy and execution on her behalf.
“We played many rallies, and it was a very physical match. That’s why the end I couldn’t make it anymore,” top seed Halep said.
“I was also I can say I gave up, because I didn’t have energy left.
“But she played really well, and she really deserves to win that, this title, because her level was very high.”
Halep was on the brink of back-to-back titles but the world number one was unable to make the most of her chance in the second-set tie-break as she went down 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 on Sunday.
It ended Halep’s nine-match winning run and the Romanian star, who had won 18 of her last 19 matches dating back to her French Open triumph.
“I had match ball. So I was there,” Halep said.
“Didn’t take my chance. In the third set I was empty and I couldn’t fight anymore.
While there was disappointment for Halep, there was jubilation for Bertens as the world number 17 celebrated a remarkable comeback.
Bertens reigned supreme in Charleston earlier this year but Sunday marked the biggest title of the Dutchwoman’s career.
“I think I didn’t have really a good time to get nervous, because I was just so tired,” Bertens said.
“I think it was such a tough match, and after winning that second set I knew, like, anything is still possible.
“I had a chat with [coach] Raemon [Sluiter] at 2-1 [in the third set] and I was, like, ‘I’m dead’. Then I said to myself, ‘No, I can do this. Let’s go for it.’
“I was, like, ‘Yeah, I know this feeling,'” Bertens elaborated.
“I had this feeling before in the practices. So I know that I can keep on going. It’s for a title, so of course you can always give a little extra and just go for it. And that’s what I did.”