Dubai Tennis Championships 2020: Simona Halep defeats Elena Rybakina in thrilling final to secure the title
- Halep had to dig deep but eventually managed to see off the challenge of the 20-year-old.
What's the story?
Simona Halep moved closer to the summit of the WTA rankings with an incredible performance in the final of the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships 2020. The Romanian star downed Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 to capture the title.
Despite being the top seed in this tournament, Halep failed to register convincing victories in her first couple of matches. The unseeded Ons Jabeur claimed the first set of her round of 16 match against Halep before the Romanian recovered to mount an incredible comeback.
The same script repeated itself in the quarterfinal as Aryna Sabalenka took the first set only to fade away towards the end.
Halep then managed to outclass Jennifer Brady in the semifinal to set up a title clash with the unseeded Rybakina.
The heart of the matter
The final started with Rybakina dominating her higher-ranked rival. She brought her 'A' game to the fore and took the first set 6-3. Rybakina looked like she would pull off the upset but Halep showcased her experience and regained control of the match by winning the second set 6-3.
Both players played their best tennis in the third set which was decided by a tie-breaker. Halep won the tie-break 7-5 to claim the title despite having an inferior 2nd serve win percentage and breakpoint conversion rate.
This was Halep's 20th title on the WTA tour and she will look to secure the number one ranking with a few more strong performances.