Mertens Defeats Halep To Claim Doha Title


Qatar Total Open, Doha

Championship Match: [3] Simona Halep (ROU) vs. [21] Elise Mertens (BEL)


Three straight breaks started the match before Halep finally held; however, unlike their previous two matches on clay where she completely dominated Mertens, Halep had no such domination in this match. It was a match where both players struggled to hold on to the lead with any conviction.

Both players battled the conditions as well as their inner turmoil. For Mertens, the stress came from the prospect of winning her biggest title; while for Halep it was trying to regain her form after being sidelined by back injury last season. There were no easy points and the number of breaks (13) in the match is a testament of the battle that took place.

Photo Source: serveandrally original -Simona Halep


Halep took the first set and an early break lead in the second set; however, she could not hold on to the lead and was broken twice to lose the second set. It becomes cumulative and squandering the lead in the second set did not sit well with Halep. Despite the back injury of Mertens, Halep could not shake the pesky Belgian.

Halep was broken three times in the third set and was clearly frustrated by the level of her play. Whether is was her foot injury or fatigue, the Romanian’s game unraveled. That unfortunately was not unexpected since Halep depends heavily on her mobility to win matches. The physical and mental toll caught up to Halep as she served to stay in the match and she made a slew of errors to lose the match after winning the first set.

Getty Images North America: Elise Mertens


The Belgian was clearly tight as the prospect of winning got closer and one wonders what would have happened if Halep had not gotten injured. Yet, no one can question the game plan of Mertens, who utilized her backhand and depth of shots to make life very difficult for her opponent. Hampered by her injury, Halep struggled to stay in the rallies and Mertens did not have to test her ability to serve out the match as she broke Halep once more to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. This was the first time she was able to defeat Halep and her reward, she won the biggest title of her career.

SOURCE OF MAIN IMAGE: (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America-Elise Mertens)

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