‘I’m focused. I really want it,’ says Simona Halep ahead of Dubai final against Elena Rybakina

Shahida Jacobs
Simona Halep celebrating

It finally all came together for Simona Halep at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as she brushed aside Jennifer Brady to book a final date with Elena Rybakina.

After needing three sets to beat Ons Jabeur in her first match and another three sets to beat Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-final, Halep had no such problems in the semi-final.

The top seed dropped only two games as she beat the American qualifier 6-2, 6-0 in just over an hour.

“It felt much better than previous matches,” Halep, who won the tournament in 2015, said. “I played really well. Everything went in my side. I felt the ball great. I feel like I played the best match since I came here.”

She added: “It’s always a nice opportunity and privilege to play the last match of the tournament. I play for another trophy, so I’m relaxed. I’m focused. I really want it.”

The impressive Rybakina will be her opponent in the showpiece match after the 20-year-old reached her fourth final of the year with a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2) win over eighth seed Petra Martic.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Halep, though, had nothing but praise for Rybakina.

“It’s amazing what [Rybakina’s] done already this year,” the world No 2 said. “I saw her a little bit during some matches.”

She added: “She has a big servel. I have to pay attention on my return and to be like today: confident, aggressive if there is a chance, just fighting. It’s the best thing to do now.”

Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @T365Official.