WTA Doha: Simona Halep ousts Catherine Bellis before withdrawing due to foot injury

It was a top-notch performance from Simona Halep to defeat Catherine Bellis in straight sets for a place in the semifinals of the Qatar Total Open, though she was forced to withdraw due to a lingering foot injury which she sustained in January.

WTA Doha: Simona Halep ousts Catherine Bellis before withdrawing due to foot injury
Simona Halep celebrates winning the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Simona Halep
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Catherine Bellis

It was a dominating performance put up by the world number two Simona Halep after she defeated the talented youngster Catherine Bellis 6-0, 6-4 after just an hour and 22-minutes of play, sealing her place in the semifinals of the 2018 Qatar Total Open.

Donning her new Nike outfit, Halep was looking at her best despite the tough resistance from Bellis, and her improved aggressive tennis allowed her to stroll her way to the victory after hitting an impressive 25 winners.

Halep whitewashes Bellis in clinical display

It was the best possible start to the encounter for Halep, who looked to be on fire after blasting a backhand return winner down-the-line to grab the break in the opening game. The Romanian had several troubles trying to consolidate with Bellis giving it her all, displaying some excellent counterpunching skills to frustrate the world number two occasionally. Nonetheless, Halep was soon able to open up a commanding 3-0 lead after surviving three marathon games which lasted 20 minutes in total.

Simona Halep in action during the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Simona Halep in action during the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Being a high-quality encounter, it evolved into a one-sided affair with Halep controlling proceedings with her firing down-the-line shots. The Romanian then proceeded to claim the bagel victory after just 30 minutes, facing no break points throughout the set.

Bellis puts up a tough fight, but Halep closes out the win

Trying to redirect the pace and take the initiative, Bellis’ efforts were to no avail after she was broken yet again to gift Halep the lead in the second set, losing her seventh consecutive game. The rout was finally broken with the American youngster firing a bullet-like forehand return winner to get on board, regaining her confidence in the process.

Things were looking good for Catherine Bellis in the second set | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Things were looking good for Catherine Bellis in the second set | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Playing with more precision and accuracy, Bellis had an incredible save from 0-40 down in the fifth game before bouncing back to earn six break points of her own. Though she was unable to convert any of her opportunities, it was a spirited run as the world number 48 was successful in recapturing her mindset.

A run of three consecutive breaks saw Halep eventually having the last laugh, being handed the golden opportunity to serve out the win. Amidst the huge amount of pressure, the Romanian was simply clinical on her serve, comfortably sealing the win with a big forehand winner.

The pair met for a nice handshake at the net after the encounter | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
The pair met for a nice handshake at the net after the encounter | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Match Statistics: Halep just too good

From the statistical board, it was clear who was the clear aggressor in the match, with Halep producing a massive 25 winners to just 23 errors throughout the 82-minute encounter. It was a huge contrast as compared to Bellis’ 12 winners to a bulk of 22 errors.

Surprisingly, both players combined to earn a total of 29 break point chances with only eight being converted. It was a flawless first set bagel from Halep, who only conceded six points behind her solid serves en route to sealing her place in the semifinals.

However, Halep has just announced her withdrawal from the tournament due to a foot injury sustained earlier at the Australian Open. “Today it [the pain] was worse, and that’s why I took this decision,” mentioned the Romanian, who would have returned to the number one spot today had Angelique Kerber beaten Caroline Wozniacki later in the evening.

(Special thanks to Jimmie48 Tennis Photography for all his photos inside this article. For more photos of his, please head over to http://www.j48tennis.net/)