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Tennis: Halep to shop “for a house” after 10th WTA title in Dubai

Simona Halep won her 10th WTA title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Photos: AFP.

Simona Halep won her 10th WTA title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Photos: AFP.

February 22, 2015: Top seed Simona Halep talked of buying a house back home after defeating rising star Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 7-6(4) to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the 10th WTA title of her career and also the equal-biggest.

 

Halep’s second Premier 5-level title, having won the Qatar Open a year ago, nudged her up from World No. 4 to No. 3 and also from fifth to third on the Road To Singapore as she bids for a second appearance at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, www.wtatennis.com reported.

 

Halep, who trails only Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova on both lists, won a relatively straightforward 41-minute first set against the 17th-seeded Pliskova, the 6-foot 1-inch, hard-serving Czech competing in her first Premier 5 final.

 

However, Halep was faced with an all-out war in a marathon 66-minute second set, the 23-year-old Romanian battling back from an early break down at 2-0 and twice failing to serve out the match at 5-4 and 6-5, even after reaching match point in both games.

 

In the tiebreak, Pliskova led 4-3 before Halep reeled off four points in a row to finally close the door.

 

“I’m very happy right now. I cannot explain in words how I feel. It’s an amazing title for me. It’s very important for my career. I’m really happy and just want to enjoy this moment,” said Halep, who won last month’s Shenzhen Open in China.

 

Halep powers her way to her second Premier 5 title, having won the Qatar Open last February.

Halep, 23, powers her way to her second Premier 5 title, having won the Qatar Open last February.

“At the beginning of the tournament some people asked me if I felt pressure because I was the No. 1 seed. I said no, because I wasn’t thinking about it. I just wanted to go on court and play match by match, because everyone would play really well here. I played with big players like [Ekaterina] Makarova, Pliskova, [Caroline] Wozniacki – she was No. 1 for two years – so it’s honestly just an amazing victory for me.”

 

Pliskova, 22, had previously won three WTA titles in seven finals, but had never even been to the quarters of a Premier 5 event before and will vault from World No. 18 to No. 12 following another excellent showing.

 

“I was trying to turn it around, but even if I won the second set, I don’t know if I would have won the whole match,” said Pliskova, whose eight finals feature five in Asia, including victories at the 2013 Malaysian Open and last year’s Korea Open.

 

“It would still have been hard because she doesn’t give up on any point. She runs really, really well and it’s hard to kill the ball against her. She really gets everything back.

 

“I lost, so I’m not really happy right now, but obviously I’m happy for the week and for the last two or three weeks I had. I had so many matches here and beat great players. I’m not disappointed.”

 

Halep earned a US$456,000 paycheque for the victory and the self-confessed shopping fan was later asked what she might buy for herself.

 

“Good question. I have many things in my mind, but I’m not sure what I would choose,” she said. “Tonight it’s tough to choose. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m going to the mall for a little bit to choose something, but not very big. When I go home, I will look, I think, for a house.”

 

Hungary No. 1 Timea Babos and France’s Kristina Mladenovic, both 21, won their first doubles title together by beating Spanish duo Garbina Muguruza – also 21 and a semi-finalist in the singles – and Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-2

. Babos and Mladenovic have now won eight and nine WTA doubles titles respectively.

 

For original story and video, visit: www.wtatennis.com/news/article/4506194/title/halep-wins-10th-wta-title-in-dubai

 

Source: WTA (www.wtatennis.com); Editing by SportAsia

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