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Simona Halep reigns at Dubai Open

posted on 22/02/2015: 1723 views



Romanian Simona Halep justified her status as the top seed with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over plucky Czech Karolina Pliskova to win her first Dubai Duty Free Women's Open crown at the Dubai Tennis Stadium here late on Saturday.

Halep picked up a cheque for $456,000 (Dh1.67 million) and the glittering trophy from Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and in the presence of Shaikh Hasher Al Maktoum, Director General, Dubai Information Department and President, Tennis Emirates and Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free, among others.

Winner of the Qatar Open in Doha last year, Halep was pleased with her maiden title in Dubai. "It's been a long wait, but at last I have this title. This is such a big win for me and I am just so very happy,” Halep said.

"I knew she has such a big serve and it was important that I believed in my ability to make those returns and stay focused on every point. This was my chance to win this and I am glad that I achieved this goal,” she added.

The victory was the second title for Halep this season following her ninth career crown in Shenzen in the opening week of the season. The win also takes the 23-year-old Romanian to No. 3 on the Road to Singapore Leaderboard, while Pliskova moved up to No. 4 for the traditional year-ender.

The holiday crowd got their money's worth from the start and it was Halep the first to make a move with the crucial break coming in the seventh game to serve out the opening set 6-4 in 40 minutes.

The second set was more complex with Pliskova requesting for the physio to attend to what looked like a sore lower back. That small break seemed to help the Czech while the Romanian world No.4 started showing signs of wavering. Halep committed a double fault on a crucial point to be broken as Pliskova held to go 3-0 clear.

But the top seed, who will now move in as the world number three when the new rankings are announced on Monday, broke back on a couple of occasions to nose ahead 4-3. Pushed against the wall, Pliskova played with resolute composure to break back and draw level 4-4.

With nothing to lose the world number four went for her shots and recorded yet another break to stay 5-4 only to be broken yet again, a favour which was repeated by Halep to stay clear 6-5. The lanky 22-year-old from the Czech Republic had other plans as she broke yet again for 6-6 to send the set into a tie-breaker.

Things remained tight in the tie-break till Halep broke away at 6-4 and then sent down a forehand winner to finish her maiden Dubai crown in an hour and 46 minutes. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/sport/tennis/simona-halep-reigns-at-dubai-open-1.1460460

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