Halep, Rybakina to meet in Dubai Championships final

Simona Halep beat US qualifier Jennifer Brady to set up the final with Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, who defeated Petra Martic in the other semifinal.

Simona Halep

Simona Halep was barely troubled by Jennifer Brady, winning 6-2, 6-0 in 62 minutes.   -  AFP

Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina marched into her fourth final of the season with a 7-6(5), 7-6(2) win over Petra Martic at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday.

Rybakina came back from a break down in both sets and also saved set points in each to overcome the eighth seeded Croatian in a little over two hours for her 19th victory of the year.

In the other semifinal, top-seeded Romanian Simona Halep was barely troubled by American qualifier Jennifer Brady, winning 6-2, 6-0 in 62 minutes after converting five break points.

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Brady, playing for a seventh straight day having got through three qualifiers, made 14 unforced errors to give the Wimbledon champion a chance to win her first trophy of the year.

The 20-year-old Rybakina, having beaten Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and second seed Karolina Pliskova, showed maturity to recover from losing her first two service games.

“First set it was not easy because she (Martic) plays really good. She has really good slices,” Rybakina said.

“Her serve, it's not flat like I played with Pliskova, for example. It's a completely different style of game. It was not easy to start against her.

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“But I tried to work every point. Second set, I was 3-0 down but I knew it was going to be easier to win this set than play a third one. I wanted to win the second so much.”

Rybakina fired down six aces and 32 winners, many from her powerful forehand that had Martic chasing her returns in vain.

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