Halep wins in Prague; Brady clinches maiden title

Having struggled through the week, World No 2 Simona Halep looked more like herself during a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Elise Mertens in the Prague final

Simona Halep at Prague Open trophy presentation

World No 2 Simona Halep capped a tough week with a title win at the Prague Open but said she needed more time to confirm her US Open participation.

Halep, who has understandably struggled to hit top form his week, scored a convincing 6-2, 7-5 victory over Elise Mertens on Sunday to claim her 21st WTA title.

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Playing her first tournament since the tour was suspended due to Coronavirus in March, Halep picked up where she had left off six months ago when she won the title in Dubai.

“Second set I was 4-2 up but dead and felt very tired,” the 28-year-old Romanian said after victory. “But today, mentally I was really strong which allowed me to win in two sets.”

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Halep, who skipped the Palermo Open due to Italy’s quarantine orders with regards to arrivals from Romania, said she was happy with the health and safety protocols put in place in the Czech capital.

“We felt really safe here and all the rules were respected. It’s a bit stressful but the fact that everyone was good these 10 days means everything was done well.”

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But the Romanian said she hadn’t confirmed her participation for the US Open yet. America has been the country worst-hit by the pandemic, with more than 5 million cases and 170,000 deaths recorded so far.

A lot of players, including World No 1 Ashleigh Barty and men’s defending champion Rafael Nadal, have decided to skip the hard-court Slam due to health concerns.

Brady’s maiden triumph

Meanwhile, at the Top Seed Open, America’s Jennifer Brady clinched her maiden WTA title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann in the final on Sunday.

The tournament in Lexington, Kentucky marked the sport’s return to USA since the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Brady has had an impressive run this week, including a win over teenage sensation Coco Gauff in the semi-finals. She fired off a forehand winner to finish off the match in style in an hour and 42 minutes.

“It feels great to win my first title,” the 25-year-old said, after winning the tournament without dropping a set.

“There’s only one winner each week, so walking away with the trophy for the first time, at home in America, I’m really happy.”