After a breakout first quarter of 2018, Elise Mertens cooled off thereafter. The Belgian was as high as No. 12 but once her Australian Open semifinal points dropped, so too dropped her ranking outside of the Top 20.
But this week in Doha, the 23-year-old caught fire winning her biggest career title in Doha with a stunning 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over World No. 3 Simona Halep.
“This is why you do it, to beat those top 10 players and getting the victory at the end,” said Mertens after winning her first Premier level title.
“It’s a big moment for me, getting this victory. Of course playing in a Grand Slam and getting the semis is really a great achievement, but I wanted a step further to getting this trophy.”
En route, Mertens upended three straight top 10 players in Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber and today Halep who she had never taken more than three games from in either of their two previous matches.
“I was really happy the way I played this week, actually. I’m happy about the process that I made, starting out playing less well and then getting better every match.
“Playing against those Top 10 players, which I back to back did this week, and especially also with the tennis I played, I think this one would be the nicest victory.
“Consistency is one of the key things to be a top player. I think Kiki Bertens already did a good job showing that last year and this year. That was a really tough match for me, but I think they were all good matches, all a part of process that I made this week.”
Mertens takes her 5th career title (she’s 5-1 in finals), her first since Rabat last May.
Halep, who beat Elina Svitolina in 3-set thriller yesterday, was bidding for a 19th career win and second in Doha after 2014.
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