DOHA, Qatar - Unseeded Elise Mertens is through to the final four at the Qatar Total Open after an inspired performance against the No.5 seed Kiki Bertens, winning in straight sets to seal her spot in the semifinals.
After dropping the first set in each of her previous two matches in Doha, Bertens seemed primed for another gutsy comeback win. But Mertens had other ideas, backing up a tough win over Kristyna Pliskova with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of World No.8 Bertens.
Up against Bertens, the first player to strike more than 100 aces in 2019 and the winner of last month’s St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, Mertens had to dig deep to produce her best tennis at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex.
Mertens struck 12 winners and kept her unforced error count contained to 19, while Bertens’ 23 winners were undone by her 40 unforced errors. Bertens’ booming serve lacked bite, too, against Mertens’ returns, striking just one ace across both sets.
The win is also Mertens’ fourth career victory over a Top 10 opponent, improving her win-loss record to 4-10.
Up next for Mertens, she’ll take on the No.3 seed Angelique Kerber in the semifinals. It’ll be their first clash at the WTA level, with Kerber claiming one victory in Hopman Cup against Mertens in their only previous career meeting.
More to follow...