Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
Elise Mertens reaches 6th career Singles Final
That’s back-to-back top-10 victories for Elise Mertens. In her first stab at 3-time Major Champion Angelique Kerber, the Belgian overcame a lackluster 2nd-set to dominate the decider. Tomorrow night, she’ll face 2014 Champion Simona Halep in her 6th career Singles Final. A big ask. Mertens has won only 7-games in their two previous clashes.
Last night, Elise dispatched World #8 Kiki Bertens.
Mertens reaps the benefits of 2019’s extensive withdrawals
It’s been a kismet week for Elise, after a heartbreaking Fed Cup weekend at home in Liege. On Saturday, she fell in 2-sets to World #51 Alize Cornet – a match that should have been a lock. Then Sunday, Caroline Garcia crushed her in the Tie-clinching match. A disappointing weekend, to say the least.
However, thanks to Fed Cup – with players thrown far and wide across the planet – she arrived Monday in Doha to a decimated draw. Katerina Siniakova was her first target – a player who was originally scheduled as a qualifier – but when Madison Keys withdrew last week, the Czech was lifted into the main draw.
After dispatching Siniakova in straight sets – her Round of 16 opponent, the #2-seed and 2017 Champion Karolina Pliskova, withdrew. Instead of the World #5, Mertens faced Lucky Loser and World #90 Kristyna Pliskova – earning the win in a second set tiebreak.
Yesterday, she earned her 4th career top-10 win, upsetting a 5-seed who’s struggled since landing at Hamad International. Truthfully, Kiki Bertens was fortunate to reach the Quarters. Elise completely exploited Kiki’s uncertain service game, winning in straight sets.
While Elise’s opponent tomorrow night — 2014 Champion Simona Halep — has benefited by being the top-seed; Mertens has undeniably benefited from this year’s overwhelming 23 withdrawals (8 main draw, 15 qualifying).
Can Elise earn her 6th top-10 victory to capture her 5th career Singles title? Stay tuned.
Elise Mertens -21- (BEL) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction
Last year, she started the season by capturing both the Singles and Doubles titles in Hobart, then made her Grand Slam Semifinal debut at the Australian Open – setting the stage for a tremendous 2018 that saw her climb from World #36 to World #12. She earned 3 Singles titles, 4 Doubles titles, reached 6 Doubles Finals, and made career-best runs at all four Majors. For the first time, she qualified for both year-end championships – reaching the WTA Finals in Doubles, the WTA Elite Trophy in Singles, and completed 2018 with career-high rankings in both disciplines. Last night, she earned her 4th career top-10 victory, defeating this year’s 5-seed and World #8 Kiki Bertens in straight sets. Through to the Semifinals in just her 2nd Qatar Total Open – From Belgium, please welcome Elise Mertens.
- SF — W |  Angelique Kerber -06- (GER) | Score: 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
- QF — W |  Kiki Bertens -08- (NED) | Score: 6-4, 6-3 | RECAP
- R2 — W | ^ [LL] Kristyna Pliskova -90- (CZE) | Score: 6-2, 7-6(3) | RECAP
- R1 — W | ** Katerina Siniakova -44- (CZE) | Score: 6-4, 6-2 | RECAP
^ Withdrawal:  Karolina Pliskova -05- (CZE)
** Withdrawal before tournament began: Madison Keys -17- (USA)
 Angelique Kerber -06- (GER) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction
The #3-seed at this year’s Qatar Total Open, she…is the reigning Wimbledon Champion. Back in July, she defeated Serena Williams to capture her 3rd Grand Slam Singles title and 12th Tour-level title overall. In 2016, she won her first Major at the Australian Open, captured Olympic Silver in Rio, won her 2nd Slam at the US Open, reached the championship match at the WTA Finals, finished the season as the year-end World #1, and has now held the sport’s top ranking for 34-weeks combined. Yesterday – down a set and break – she launched a brilliant comeback to defeat Barbora Strycova in a deciding set tiebreak, and is through to her second Doha Semifinal. From Germany, please welcome 2014 Qatar Total Open Finalist, Angelique Kerber.