Simona Halep brushed aside any doubts on her form after the five-month COVID-19 shutdown, reaching her second straight final on Saturday with a defeat of Camelia Begu 7-6(2), 6-3.

The second-ranked winner lifted the title at Dubai in her last pre-pandemic match in February and has now won eight consecutive matches.

She will bid for the trophy at the WTA tournament in Kentucky against third seed Elise Mertens, who put out former finalist Kristyna Pliskova 7-5, 7-6(4).

“I didn’t play my best tennis but also she was tired, so in my opinion, it was a good match,” Halep said after beating No. 82 Begu, her fellow Romanian..

“I’m really happy that I could win it. It’s always tough to play against her. She’s a great player.”

Halep took advantage of an opponent’s who had spent seven hours on court, including a three-and-a-half-hour victory followed by a long rain interruption in the quarter-finals.

Halep had to fight back from a break down three times in the opening set but managed to survive by winning a tiebreaker. She then took victory after recovering from 1-3 down in the second set.


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