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


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)