WTA Tour

Halep champion in Dubai

2015-02-21 19:19
Simona Halep (AFP)

Dubai - Romania's Simona Halep overcame Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in the final of the Dubai Championships on Saturday to claim her 10th WTA singles title.

The win ensured Halep, who ran her opponent ragged at the Aviation Club, would climb back to third in the world rankings.

She converted her only break point in the opener to claim the first set and shrugged off four service breaks and two fluffed match points to secure a second title of 2015 following victory in Shenzhen in January.

Halep, 23, is seven inches shorter than Pliskova, the six-footer with more aces than any other player this year, but the Romanian's pounding ground strokes ultimately proved decisive.

"She played very well - it's hard to explain how I feel, it's a big title for me," Halep said in a courtside interview.

"I knew she had a big serve (but) I believe I have a good return. I stayed focused on every point."

Such concentration did not prevent the French Open finalist from making early errors, with two double faults and a wayward forehand providing Pliskova with a first break point.

The Czech - currently ranked a career-high 18th in the world - netted a simple return and the Romanian held for 2-2.

The tattooed Pliskova rarely left the baseline against Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in her semi-final, but ventured forward more against Halep, aware she must be braver against higher calibre foe.

"Even if I won the second set, I don't think I would have won the whole match," Pliskova, who is expected to rise to 12th in the rankings when the new list is issued on Monday, told reporters.

"She's running really well and so it's hard to kill the ball. She's great at returning. Today, it was more about my mistakes because she wasn't doing any."

Halep clinched the first set with an angled serve that a lunging Pliskova scuffed into the net.

With the large Romanian contingent chanting her name on a balmy desert evening, Halep eased off in the second, a wide forehand and a double fault gifting Pliskova a 2-0 lead.

Halep broke immediately, Pliskova shanking a forehand long that led the Czech to leave court for treatment on a hip injury.

The final six games went against serve. Pliskova saved match point with a crosscourt backhand winner and Halep double-faulted on another as the set went to a tiebreak, but a forehand winner sealed it 7-4.

Read more on:    wta tour  |  simona halep  |  tennis


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