Mertens set for first career WTA Premier final

Julia Goerges 2019 Doha

Mertens surprises Halep to take Qatar Open title

Taiwanese sisters Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan on Thursday advanced to the semi-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Open, while top seed Simona Halep successfully continued her bid for the title in the singles.

Despite that, the top seed managed to break that streak of defeats to Svitolina and made it to the final in Doha for the second time in her career.

The set was the first Mertens took from Halep in three matchups.

The Romanian prevailed, however, beating Svitolina 6-4 in the final set to progress to tomorrow's final.

After Svitolina, too, retained her serve to go up 4-1 again, the pressure was again on Halep in the sixth game which saw seven deuces in a see-saw battle of physicality and nerves, during which the Ukrainian's defences were tested to the limit.

The unseeded Belgian will play Simona Halep for the Doha title.

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"She is very strong and I didn't give up".

For Halep, it was her third successive win over Goerges in as many meetings. Halep moves to the final at Qatar Total Open where she will fight against the victor between Angelique Kerber and Elise Mertens.

Halep outclassed her opponent in the opening set, but Mertens powered back into the match to force a decider.

For Svitolina, who is appearing in the Qatar Total Open as a wild card, this will be her best ever performance in Doha where she never reached the quarter-finals previously.

On the other side of the coin, Angelique Kerber enters this match having won her previous match in 3 sets.

"I found a way to have to beat her", said Svitolina.

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"In the first set I did a lot of mistakes", said Kerber. "Of course, not bad results but not the way I wanted it, but in tennis, every week there is another tournament, so every week you can improve yourself".

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"I just look at round per round, and I look at the opponents", Mertens said.

The Qatar Total Open decider is also the first Premier final for Mertens, although she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open a year ago.

Svitolina, who broke Muchova in game eight of the first set and then a couple more times in the second, later praised the Czech youngster for a great fight. I didn't know much about her or her style.

"I think this one would be, especially also with my tennis I played, the nicest one, nicest victory". "It was a really close match and I think just one, two points decide the match".

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