| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Calvin Rhoden

Simona Halep beat Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 7-6(4) to capture the Dubai Duty Free Championships on Saturday, winning her second title of this season.

“I’m very happy right now. I cannot explain in words how I feel,” said Halep. “It’s an amazing title for me. It’s very important for my career. I’m really happy and just want to enjoy this moment.”

The top-seeded Romanian got the first advantage of the match at 3-3 in the first set. She broke the 17th seeded Czech’s serve at love to jump ahead 4-3, allowing her to serve out the remainder of the 41-minute set.

Pliskova then took a 2-0 lead in the second frame before requiring medical attention for an apparent hip injury. Halep took advantage of that and stormed back, getting to match points at 5-4 and 6-5, before Pliskova rallied to force the second set into a tie-breaker.

The Czech held a 4-3 advantage in the breaker, but Halep was just too tough, rattling off the final four points to close out the match.

“At the beginning of the tournament some people asked me if I felt pressure because I was the number one seed,” recalled Halep. “I said no, because I wasn’t thinking about it, and I just wanted to go on court play match by match, because everyone would play really well here. And I played with big players like Makarova, Pliskova, Wozniacki … so it’s honestly just an amazing victory for me.”

Halep has looked excellent thus far in 2015, winning in Shenzhen, reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne and capturing the Dubai crown last week.

Her final match opponent, Pliskova, has enjoyed a great start to 2015 as well, and finds herself now ranked 12th in the world.

“I lost, so I’m not really happy right now, but obviously I’m happy for the week and for the last two or three weeks I had,” said Pliskova. “I had so many matches here and beat great players—I’m not disappointed.”