Sun, Feb 17, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Chan sisters keep on rolling to final

COMEBACK QUEEN:Simona Halep seemed certain to miss out on a 34th career final when she was down 1-4 in the third set, but rallied to take the next five games

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP

Simona Halep returns to Elina Svitolina during their Qatar Open semi-final in Doha on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwanese sisters Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan on Friday kept their bid for a second doubles title of the season on track at the Qatar Open with a victory in the semi-finals at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.

The Taiwanese duo defeated Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) in 1 hour, 27 minutes.

The sisters saved six of 10 break points and converted five of 13, edging past the conquerors of fellow Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei by winning 72 of the 140 points contested to advance to their third final of the season, following their two final appearances in Australia last month — a loss in Adelaide and a victory in Hobart.

In the final the Chan sisters were due to face fourth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands, who defeated Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and Alison Riske of the US 6-2, 7-5 in Friday’s other semi-final.

In the singles, Simona Halep won five games in a row in the deciding set of an astonishing match against Elina Svitolina to power through to the final.

Seemingly down and almost out at 1-4 in the third set, world No. 3 Halep was roared on by a large set of Romanian fans to secure a remarkable 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over the Ukrainian.

She was to play Belgium’s Elise Mertens in yesterday’s final after the world No. 21 surprisingly beat three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 in the other last-four match.

Halep described her dramatic win as “unbelievable.”

“I promised myself I would never give up against her again because I lost two matches very bad,” Halep said. “She played amazing. She moved very well, she hit the ball strong, she didn’t miss much.”

It was her first win against the world No. 7 since 2017.

She was to play her 34th career final and will rise to the rank of No. 2 in the world whatever the result.

Mertens’ victory was the second time this week she has beaten a player in the top 10, having dispatched world No. 8 Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals.

The Qatar final was to be her sixth singles’ career final and she has only lost one of those, in Turkey in 2017 to Svitolina.

“I knew it was going to be a really difficult match,” Mertens said. “I mean, I had to play aggressive, stay on my line, because she can put that one ball back in the court.”

In a tournament blighted by injury and withdrawals, with some players complaining about workload, it is notable that both Halep and Mertens played Fed Cup matches last weekend before flying straight to Doha.

“I think it really helps when you play Fed Cup,” Mertens said. “I didn’t win my matches, but ... I worked hard that week.”

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