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Monday, May 17, 2021

Halep clinches first Qatar Open title amid support from Romanian fans

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In a swift clash tonight, World No. 10 Simona Halep of Romania defeated World No. 9 Angelique Kerber of Germany during the Qatar Total Open 2014 finals. Halep put on a fierce performance to win the title in two sets 6-2, 6-3, in front of a loud crowd of Romanian fans. She will take home $441,000 in prize money.

Speaking to journalists during the awards ceremony, Halep credited the cheering and vivid display of her country’s flags for giving her a boost.

“The Romanian people, they supported me a lot here. It was amazing week, and I will come for sure next year back here,” Halep said as the tournament concluded with fireworks.

This week’s competition concluded quite differently from last year’s, during which World No. 1 Serena Williams battled it out and eventually lost against World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the finals.

Neither star competed in this year’s tournament due to injuries.

Their absence and the elimination of the few favorites in the earlier rounds had inhibited crowd attendance during this week’s matches, but there was a decent turnout in the finals game tonight.

Earlier in the week, Halep came close to crashing out of the tournament in her first round match against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, where she was down 3-5 in the final set.

Turning it around

Halep told journalists that she called her coach during that match to tell him that she felt she was going to lose.

“But he said that I can win that one. And then, after that match, I was very confident with my serve. I believed that I had my chance here in this tournament. I was fighting for every point and just tried to find my game again,” she said.

The 22-year-old carried this attitude throughout the championship and knocked out top players, including World No. 7 Sara Errani in the quarterfinals and World No. 4 Agneiszka Radwanska in the semifinals.

For her part, Kerber seemed distracted from the beginning of the finals match, despite a strong performance throughout the week.

“I was actually not there at the beginning of the match, and she was up very fast. I was then trying to find my rhythm, and I couldn’t find it at the end,” Kerber said in her post-match press conference.

For the doubles title, Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Shuai Peng of China beat Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Kataria Srebotnik of Slovenia in straight sets 6-4, 6-0.

Did you watch the finals? Thoughts?

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