January 24, 2021

Simona Halep beats Elise Mertens to win Prague title – tennis



Prime seed Simona Halep claimed her second successive title, albeit six months aside, as she comfortably beat Elise Mertens to win the Prague Open on Sunday. The Romanian world quantity two, enjoying her first occasion since successful in Dubai in February, shortly earlier than the coronavirus pandemic pressured tennis to shutdown, received 6-2 7-5.

Halep had struggled to shake off the rust all through the week and got here near a first-round defeat by Polona Hercog earlier than struggling previous Barbora Krejcikova and compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu, however she was within the groove towards Mertens.

Victory in a single hour 33 minutes over Belgian Mertens earned her a 21st profession WTA trophy — the fifth-highest tally of lively gamers behind solely Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Petra Kvitova.

Mertens blazed right into a 2-Zero lead with a flurry of winners, however Halep responded by reeling off seven successive video games to take management. Halep didn’t have issues all her personal means although and was damaged again early within the second set as Mertens once more went on the assault. A wobbly service sport allowed Halep to maneuver a break forward once more within the fifth sport, though Mertens retaliated once more to degree the second set at 4-4. Halep broke to steer 6-5 although and completed it off with a heavy forehand.

“Second set I used to be 4-2 up however useless and felt very drained,” she mentioned. “However at this time, mentally I used to be actually sturdy which allowed me to win in two units.”

With world primary Ash Barty and 2019 U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal, in addition to a bunch of different high gamers, already deciding towards enjoying at Flushing Meadows, organisers shall be hoping Halep says sure.

Halep has appeared reluctant to make the journey to the U.S., which remains to be within the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, however mentioned this week she wanted to see what “adjustments” the organisers would make by way of “travelling and stuff”.

Halep mentioned she’s going to announce on Monday whether or not she’s going to play on the US Open. Talking after her victory, the 28-year-old Romanian mentioned “she simply wanted her time” to decide. “We felt actually secure right here and all the foundations had been revered,” she informed reporters. “It’s a bit annoying however the truth that everybody was good these 10 days means all the pieces was completed nicely.”