Halep and Mertens win, through to Qatar final

DOHA (AFP) – Simona Halep won five games in a row in the deciding set of an astonishing match against Elina Svitolina in Doha on Friday to power through to the Qatar Open final.

Seemingly down and almost out at 1-4 in the third set, world number three Halep was roared on by a large and noisy set of Romanian fans to secure a remarkable 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over the Ukrainian.

She will play Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the final after the world number 21 surprisingly beat three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 in the other last four match.

Halep described her dramatic win as “unbelievable”.

“I didn’t give up, I promised myself I would never give up against her again because I lost two matches very bad,” said Halep.

Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during their WTA Qatar Open semi-final tennis match in Doha on Friday. – AFP

She added, “She played amazing. She moved very well, she hit the ball strong, she didn’t miss much.

“So I think I was at a very high level of tennis today, and I’m really proud that I could win the match against her.”

It was her first win against the world number seven since 2017.

The Romanian will now play her 34th career final and will rise to the rank of number two in the world whatever the result.

Mertens’ victory was the second time this week she has beaten a player in the top 10, having

dispatched world number eight Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals.