Mertens shrugs off back pain to beat Halep for Qatar Open title
16 Feb 2019 – 21:17
Belgian Elise Mertens poses with the trophy after her victory over Romanian Simona Halep in their WTA Qatar Open tennis match in Doha on February 16, 2019. / AFP / KARIM JAAFAR
Doha: Belgium's Elise Mertens claimed the biggest win of her career on Saturday, surprisingly coming from a set down to beat world number three Simona Halep and clinch the Qatar Open.
The world number 21
An overwhelmed Mertens said after her victory over the French Open champion: "Simone is a great player, everybody worked hard and it's nice to get the trophy. "
Her win, in a little over two hours, her third victory over a top player in Doha this week, and her second over a Grand Slam champion, as she beat Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals.
Qatar is the fifth title of Mertens' career but notably
Mertens had started nervously, lost her opening service game, and the first set in just 32 minutes.
At 2-0 down in the second, it looked like it was going Halep is a part of the game, which is a routine game for Halep.
But Mertens broke back, then called for medical attention and was the stronger player for the remainder of the game.
A clearly fading Halep, who played in the Fed Cup last weekend when she led Romania into the semi-finals for the first time, also called for medical assistance for treatment on her right foot.
"Honestly, I wanted to lift this beautiful trophy but Elise deserved it very much, "said Halep, who won the Qatar title in 2014.
Despite her defeat she will head back to number two in the rankings on the back or her performances in Doha.  Related News