Elise Mertens shrugs off back pain to beat Simona Halep for Qatar Open title

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Elise Mertens kisses the trophy after her victory over Simona Halep in their WTA Qatar Open final. (AFP)

Doha, February 17: 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 won 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, despite being outclassed in the first set, overcoming an eight-minute medical timeout for back pain in the second set, and losing 18 consecutive points at one stage in the match.
“It’s a big moment for me, getting that victory,” said a jubilant Mertens, 23, afterwards.
“I think this one would be, especially also with my tennis I played, the nicest one, nicest victory.”
Her win, in a little over two hours, was her third victory over a top ten player in Doha this week, and her second over a Grand Slam champion.
Halep is the reigning French Open champion and Angelique Kerber, who she beat in the semi-finals, holds the Wimbledon title. (AFP)