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Tennis news – Simona Halep battles past Elina Svitolina to reach Doha final

Halep battles past Svitolina to reach Doha final

15/02/2019 at 15:58Updated 15/02/2019 at 19:00

World number three Simona Halep battled past Elina Svitolina in three sets to reach the final in Doha.

Halep reached the semis in Qatar last year before she was forced to withdraw, but went one better with a 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory over Svitolina on Friday.

The Romanian broke twice to take the opening set, but was pegged back after Svitolina did likewise in the second.

World number seven Svitolina then raced to a 3-0 lead in the decider, but Halep dug deep to win six of the next seven games and reach Saturday’s final.

"I'm happy because I didn't give up... The two finals that I played against her in Rome I gave up and I was not ready to fight," said Halep, who will face unseeded Belgian Elise Mertens in Saturday's final.

"Now I change that, and it makes me happier, because I showed myself that I'm able to do that."

"The mental part is really important... but definitely today I was stronger physically as well, because against Svitolina (it) is never easy to win a match. She's very strong on the legs."

Mertens scored her second top 10 victory of the week as she battled past three-times Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 2-6 6-1.

Mertens, who defeated fifth seed Kiki Bertens in the quarter-final, has failed to win a set against Halep in her previous two meetings -- both on clay last year.

Additional reporting from Reuters