WTA Shenzhen: Simona Halep ousts Katerina Siniakova for the title

It was a perfect start to 2018 for Simona Halep as she defeated defending champion Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 in the final of the Shenzhen Open, claiming both singles and doubles titles.

WTA Shenzhen: Simona Halep ousts Katerina Siniakova for the title
Simona Halep poses alongside her singles trophy | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac
Simona Halep
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Katerina Siniakova

Such a great tournament like the 2018 Shenzhen Open had to end in unfortunate circumstances after rain washed out the final day, forcing the singles and doubles finals to be moved to an indoor arena with no electronic line-calling system and cameras, resulting in the final not being broadcast anywhere in the world.

Nonetheless, the sudden change of plans did not affect the world number one Simona Halep, who stormed her way to her second title in Shenzhen with an excellent victory over Katerina Siniakova, overcoming a mid-match wobble to triumph 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 after just an hour and 12 minutes of play, which is considered a quick match despite being concluded in three sets.

Halep and Siniakova during the trophy ceremony | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac
Halep and Siniakova during the trophy ceremony | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac

Halep strolls to opening set

Being the world number one, Halep had the perfect start to the match as she seemed unstoppable on her serve, booming her way to an opening service hold. In the only game which went to deuce throughout the encounter, Siniakova put up a tough fight to fend off two break points and get onto a scoreboard. The defending champion beat five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova yesterday and looked invincible during her flawless display.

It turned out that the second game was what Siniakova earned whole-set long, with the Romanian rattling off 12 of the next 15 points, outclassing her younger Czech counterpart. In this battle of former champions, the 2015 champion had the far better start with Siniakova unable to find her rhythm, allowing Halep to steamroll through the one-sided 6-1 first set after just a mere 26 minutes of play.

Simona Halep in action during the final | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac
Simona Halep in action during the final | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac

Siniakova fights back

Looking to shake off the disappointment of losing the opening set, Siniakova sent down a powerful ace to claim the first game of the second. Upping her level of play and also attempting to dictate play more often, the Czech finally saw her efforts being rewarded with Halep being broken for the first time in the match.

Although she allowed frustration to overwhelm her in a loose game which saw her hand back the advantage to the world number one, the changeover proved pivotal as she triumphed in a thrilling point to grab back the break, regaining the lead. From there, it was just a one-way traffic as the match was headed into a third and deciding set after less than an hour.

Halep dominates decider

The final set was just too good from Halep, as she displayed the fighting spirit of a world number one. Unforced errors from Siniakova saw her trail by an early break but Halep stood firm and comfortably consolidated the break for a two-game lead. Her advantage was extended as Siniakova double-faulted on break point to hand the Romanian an insurance break.

Nothing was going right for Siniakova, who won just a mere six points throughout the deciding set, and Halep found the victory just inches ahead of her. Rattling off 24 of the last 30 points, Halep sealed her first title as the world number one, and her 16th overall.

Simona Halep celebrates her win | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac
Simona Halep celebrates her win | Photo: Zhong Zhi / Getty Images AsiaPac