Rallying to beat top seed Simona Halep in the Qatar Total Open final, Elise Mertens recorded her third consecutive Top 10 victory and won her fifth career title, her first at a Premier-level event.
After beating Kiki Bertens in the quarterfinals and Angelique Kerber in the semis, the 23-year-old Belgian recovered from a set and a break down to overcome the 2014 Doha champion Halep 3-6 6-4 6-3. The unseeded Mertens lost 18 points in a row from 3-3 in the first set, as Halep won four games to love and had a 30-0 lead on her opponent’s serve at the start of the second set.
Even though Halep earned an early advantage in the second set, Mertens quickly restored order and got the match back on serve, while in the seventh game the Belgian saved two break points before breaking the former world No.1’s serve to love en route to forcing a deciding set. On the wings of her momentum, Mertens claimed a crucial break early into the third set, and even though Halep leveled again, the world No.21 won four of the last five games to add the famous golden falcon trophy to her collection.