Kerber, Halep keep calm to reach Qatar Open final

February 16, 2014 - 1:28:32 am

Angelique Kerber of Germany returns the ball to Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during their singles semi-final match at the Qatar Open in Doha yesterday. Kerber won 6-1, 7-6 (8-6). RIGHT: Simona Halep of Romania in action during her semi-final against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Halep won 7-5, 6-2. Kerber will play Halep in the final at Khalfa Tennis Complex today.

DOHA: Simona Halep of Romania yesterday stunned second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland to set-up a mouth-watering Qatar Open final against sixth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany. 

Halep, playing true to her form, yesterday showed the exit to Radwanska 7-5, 6-2 to be one step away from her seventh career singles title. 

The 22-year-old Romanian was on court for 1 hours 27 minutes. 

Also yesterday, Kerber defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) to enter the final of the Qatar Total Open at the Khalifa Tennis Complex here on Saturday.

It was Kerber’s second victory over the fifth seeded Serbian in their three meetings. 

The German maintained her perfect record of not losing a set in the Premier 5 Tournament.

The sixth-seeded German, who has already played 20 matches this year, uses Doha as her training base and looked at home as she quelled a spirited fight-back from the fifth-seeded Jankovic. 

The former world number one from Serbia was four times within two points of forcing the decider but went down when Kerber’s retrieving drive under pressure caught the net cord and fell dead. 

Kerber was merely relieved to have snatched victory any way she could, especially as she had also won the first set in their encounter in Brisbane last month but still lost. 

A major part of the success came because Kerber prevailed in two monster games in the middle of the second set, one with six deuces, the other with seven.

Kerber will now be looking to add to her three WTA Tour singles titles. 

“I knew before the match that Jelena will play until the last one (shot), and she fights and she gives everything,” Kerber said of her opponent.

“She was playing great at the end, too. I think it was very high level at the end of the second set, and, you know, I was just trying to play aggressive in the important moments and to stay in the moment,” the German added. 

“I was just fighting from point to point. I was happy that I won this in two sets at the end,” Kerber said with a smile.

Halep said she was thrilled with her performance in Doha

“I feel very happy I can play the final. It’s unbelievable tournament for me,” Halep said. 

“I played really well tonight.  I started to feel the ball very strong, but it wasn’t a good way to win the match,” she exlained. 

“At 5 2, I said that I have nothing to lose anymore and (I had) to change tactic. I played smart (and) aggressive. I wanted just to let her give me the balls back,’ Halep said. 

“I had to do my points, my game.  And I was aggressive, but I started to play more crosses, short crosses, and I wanted to finish the ball with the drive volley.  And also I hit some drop-shots, so I think it was a complete game. I played really well,” Halep said yesterday.

Both the players today will be eyeing the top prize of $441,000 and 900 points that could boost their overall ranking. 

The losing finalist today will get richer by $220,200 and 620 points. 

Jankovic and Radwanska, the losing semi-finalists yesterday, took home $110,100 each for their efforts. 

The four players who exited at the quarter-finals stage got $50,700 each.

THE PENINSULA

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