Photos by Nida Alibhai
(February 21, 2015) DUBAI, UAE – Simona Halep defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 7-6(4) on Saturday to win the Dubai Tennis Championships for her 10th WTA title of her career, second title of 2015 and her second Premier 5-level victory. Halep won a title in Shenzen, China in January.
Halep won the first set in 41 minutes breaking the Czech’s serve in the seventh game.
Pliskova got off to a 2-0 start in the second set, but Halep rebounded to get back on serve, then get ahead to serve for the match at 5-4. Halep failed to close out the match serving at both 5-4 and 6-5, reaching match points in both service games. The last six games in the set were breaks of serve.
“I was trying to turn it around, but even if I won the second set, I don’t know if I would have won the whole match,” Pliskova said. “It would still have been hard because she doesn’t give up on any point. She runs really, really well, and it’s hard to kill the ball against her. She really gets everything back.”
“She played very well, it’s hard to explain how I feel, it’s a big title for me,” Halep said on court.
“I knew she had a big serve, I believe I have a good return. I stayed focused on every point.”
Halep won the last four points of the tiebreak to claim the match.
“I did two double faults at 6‑5,” said Halep. “I cannot imagine how I could serve with 100 kilometers just to put the ball on court but I couldn’t. But in tiebreak I was strong and I stayed very focused and I was fighting till the end. That was the most important, I think.”
“She played very well….it’s hard to explain how I feel, it’s a big title for me,” Halep said.
“I’m very happy now, and I cannot explain words how I feel,” said Halep. “It’s just an amazing title for me. It’s very important for my career. I’m really happy, and I just want to enjoy this moment.”
“Of course I lost so I’m not really happy, but obviously I’m happy for the week and for the last two or three weeks,” said Pliskova.
For the 23-year-old Romanian, the win moves her ranking back up to No. 3 in the world. Pliskova is expected to rise to No. 12 when the rankings are released on Monday.
“At the beginning of the tournament some people asked me if I felt pressure because I was the No.1 seed,” Halep said. “I said no, because I wasn’t thinking about it, and I just wanted to go on court and play match by match, because everyone would play really well here. And I played with big players like Makarova, Pliskova, Wozniacki – she was No.1 two years. So it’s honestly just an amazing victory for me.”
The doubles title went to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who beat Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-2. It was their fourth final together, and their first title.