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

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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.”

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