Simona Halep wins 21st WTA title at Prague Open

Top-seeded Simona Halep defeated third-seeded Elise Mertens 6-2, 7-5 in the Prague Open final to claim her 21st WTA title.

File photo of Halep who defeated third-seed Elise Mertens 6-2, 7-5 in the Prague Open final.   -  Reuters Photo

Top-seeded Simona Halep defeated third-seeded Elise Mertens 6-2, 7-5 in the Prague Open final on Sunday to claim her 21st WTA title.

The second-ranked Romanian broke Mertens for a 6-5 lead in the final set before converting her first match point to win her second title this year after the Dubai Championships in February.

Before the Wimbledon champion recovered from a foot injury she sustained in Dubai, the coronavirus pandemic forced a five-month break.

It was the eighth title on clay for Halep, the first since she won the 2018 French Open. Among the active players, only Serena Williams with 13 and her sister Venus with nine, won more titles on clay.

The No. 23-ranked Mertens jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening set before Halep took charge, taking six straight games.

After the final, Halep said she would decide on Monday if she is ready to play at the forthcoming US Open.

The Prague Open is the second European tournament since the WTA restarted last week with the Palermo Open amid the coronavirus pandemic, with strict health protocols in place and no fans in the stands and no media except a television broadcaster.

The players were isolated on one floor of a Prague hotel that was completely booked by tournament organisers.

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