Dubai Open: Simona Halep gets the better of Elena Rybakina for 20th career crown

The world no. 2 fought back from losing the opening set and rebounded from a break down in the third to defeat the Kazakh in two hours and 27 minutes

by Abbey Johnson
Dubai Open: Simona Halep gets the better of Elena Rybakina for 20th career crown

World no. 2 Simona Halep came from a set down, and a break down in the final set, to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships against Elena Rybakina on Saturday. The top-seed won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in two hours and 27 minutes.

This was Halep’s third three-set match, after coming through two consecutive three-set tussles – including her opening-round win against Ons Jabeur in which she saved a match point. At the start of the match, it was the 20-year-old who dominated the momentum hitting hard and fast at the Romanian.

Halep asserted herself in the second set but once again was made to look vulnerable in the opening moments of the third set as she trailed Rybakina 1-3. The match turned again as Halep regained the break back and pushed the set – and the match’s fate – into the tie-break, eventually getting her hands on the trophy.

In her media appearance after the title run, Halep acknowledged her opponent’s potential. “She's strong. She has a huge serve. She's tall. She has power. I think she's really good to get into the top 10 very soon. [She is] moving well, even if she's very tall.

Her ball doesn't jump that much. It's really tough to find the length of the ball. The shot, cross backhand, is amazing. She can go also down the line. I think she's at the highest confidence level. I think everything she hits, it's really good now”.

Regarding her own career this year, this was Halep’s first tournament win for 2020. This was also her 20th career title. Speaking about winning the title, Halep correlated it with the 20th edition of the Dubai Open that is being celebrated in 2020.

Halep said, “It's very special to be in 2020, 20th anniversary of this tournament, 20th title. It's pretty special. I just want to enjoy it. It's very, very beautiful”. Meanwhile, Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova successfully defended their doubles title in the event.

The top-seeds won against the fifth seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Saisai Zheng 7-5, 3-6, [10-5] in an hour and 52 minutes. Photo Credit: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Website

Simona Halep Elena Rybakina