When Belgian Elise Mertens reached the semifinals at this year’s Australian Open, fans of the 22-year-old wondered if it was a fluke or breakthrough performance.
Mertens has answered since, on Saturday winning her third title of the year, defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 7-6(4) for the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem crown in Rabat, Morocco.
“You get confidence from winning this many matches, but you have to take things match by match,” said Mertens after winning her 12th match in a row. “Every opponent is different, and every match has to be played. But I’m really happy that it’s going well so far. Winning my third title of the year feels amazing.”
After winning the Samsung Open title and leading Belgium over Italy in Fed Cup, and now winning Rabat, she is undefeated on clay this year.
“In the first set, I was really dominating, and she made more mistakes than I did,” Mertens said. “I started really well in the second set, but there were so many deuce games, so it could have gone either way. I had that match point, but she put it on the line, so it was like, ‘Ugh!’ but I was really happy to win it in two sets.”
The 24-year-old Tomljanovic had 46 unforced errors and was appearing in her first final since 2015. She drops to 0-2 in career finals.
Mertens will see her ranking climb to a new career-high of No. 16.
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