Madrid Open: Simona Halep beats Belinda Bencic & will play Kiki Bertens in final
Simona Halep continued her bid to regain the world number one ranking by beating Switzerland's Belinda Bencic to reach the Madrid Open final.
The world number three overcame a second-set fightback from 18th-ranked Bencic to win 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-0.
Romania's Halep, 27, will overtake Naomi Osaka at the top of the rankings if she wins the title.
She will play Kiki Bertens in Saturday's final after the Dutchwoman beat Sloane Stephens 6-2 7-5.
Bertens, who lost to Kvitova in last year's final, has yet to drop a set in Madrid, although Halep leads the head-to-head record 3-2.
Halep has reached the Madrid final four times in her career and won the title in 2016 and 2017.
Bencic, who beat Japan's Osaka in the quarter-finals, had won her past two meetings against Halep.
However, Halep, who describes clay as her favourite surface, was dominant in the final set.