Halep takes Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Title

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Top seed Simona Halep fought off a strong challenge from Karolina Pliskova to claim the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title on Saturday, winning 6-4 7-6(4).

Simona Halep Presentation The presentation was made in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint  Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.

“I’m very happy now, and I cannot explain words how I feel,” said the new champion. “It’s just an amazing title for me. It’s very important for my career. I’m really happy, and I just want to enjoy this moment.”

The match was a tense battle from beginning to end, with just one break of serve deciding the opening set. Pliskova had the first opportunity to break, for 3-1, but instead it was Halep who broke at love for a 4-3 lead.

It was Pliskova who also had the first chance of the second set, breaking to lead 2-0, but Halep immediately broke back and Pliskova then left the court for medical attention to a sore hip.

There were a flurry of breaks as the match moved to a dramatic conclusion, with Halep holding a match point after breaking to lead 5-4, Pliskova levelling at 5-5, Halep breaking again to lead 6-5 but then double-faulting on her second match point to take the set to a tiebreak.

“I did two double faults at 6?5. I cannot imagine how I could serve with 100 kilometers just to put the ball on court but I couldn’t,” said Halep. “But in tiebreak I was strong and I stayed very focused and I was fighting till the end.  That was the most important, I think.”

Pliskova was delighted with her performances in Dubai but disappointed that she could not manage to take the match to a third set.

“Of course I lost so I’m not really happy, but obviously I’m happy for the week and for the last two or three weeks,” said Pliskova.

“She’s a great player, so I didn’t have that many chances. I was just trying to do my best and trying to stay in the second set still, but even if I would have win the second set I don’t want to say anything that I would have won the match. It would still be hard because she’s not giving up on every point. She’s running really, really well, and so that’s hard to kill the ball to her.”

The doubles title went to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who defeated Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-2. It was their fourth final together, and their first title.

“We have once again enjoyed many outstanding matches throughout the week, culminating in a fascinating final between two new stars to women’s tennis which had us on the edge of our seats,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organizers. “We congratulate Simona Halep on her victory, and also Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic for their success in winning their first title as a team. We wish all of them well for the future.”

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