16 February 2019
Mertens outlasts Halep to win biggest title in Doha
Elise Mertens captured the biggest title of her career in style at the Qatar Total Open.
The unseeded Belgian rallied from a set and a break down to defeat top seed Simona Halep, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win her first-ever WTA Premier-level crown, and the fifth title of her career overall.
After the two players traded breaks of serve twice over the first six games, Halep seemed to wrestle control of the championship match by winning 18 consecutive points across five games from 3-3 in the opening set.
After winning four games to love and the first two points in Mertens' first service game of the second set, the Romanian went up a break at 2-0, only to see Mertens hit back immediately to get the match back on serve.
Each woman saved a break point in her next two service games, with Mertens fending off two to hold for 3-3, before the Belgian finally broke through by winning the Halep serve to love in the ninth game en route to sealing her first set in six played against the Romanian.
After breaking to begin the final set and holding on in a titanic early game to lead 2-0, Mertens held off a fight back from the top seed, who won the next two games to level the decider, by winning four of the final five games of the match.
The former World No.12 defeated three Top 10 foes in the last three rounds overall, as she also defeated Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Source: WTA Tennis