Istanbul Open: Sorana Cirstea denies Elise Mertens to end title drought

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Istanbul Open: Sorana Cirstea denies Elise Mertens to end title drought

Sorana Cirstea upset top-seed Elise Mertens in the final of the Istanbul Open on Sunday to win the second title of her career. The Romanian won 6-1, 7-6(3) in an hour and 40 minutes. Throughout this week, in the tournament, Cirstea didn’t drop a single set.

Cirstea was unplayable in the opening set and although she did lose her serve – which accounted for the sole game Mertens won in the set – she more than made amends for that lapse. The Belgian’s 16 unforced errors cost her the set.

In the second set, Mertens recovered well and put Cirstea on the backfoot as she took a 5-3 lead that allowed her to serve for the second set in the ninth game. However, she was thwarted by her opponent, who tilted the set back on serve.

Cirstea served for the match in the 11th game of the second set but was broken by Mertens. In the tie-break, Cirstea upped the ante further and she dropped just three points before going on to secure the win for herself.

Istanbul Open: Elise Mertens-Veronika Kudermetova stake doubles title claim

Cirstea’s previous title, her first, came almost 13 years ago when she was 18 at the Tashkent Open in 2008.

Acknowledging the momentousness of the occasion, Cirstea said in her on-court speech, “I’m very, very happy for this trophy. I did not expect it, to be honest, so probably I’m twice as glad!” Mertens, however, didn’t leave the Istanbul Open empty-handed as she and Veronika Kudermetova won the doubles title.

Mertens and Kudermetova, who were the top-seeds in the draw, defeated the second-seeded pairing of Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-1, 6-1. This was Mertens’ second doubles title of the season, after her Australian Open win (partnering Aryna Sabalenka). Overall, this was the 12th doubles title of the Belgian’s career.