Simona Halep -02- (ROU) def Ekaterina Makarova -36- (RUS) 63 60
Simona Halep’s pain threshold is set to 11. Sincerely. Down Under, she destroyed her ankle during her opening match and still managed to deliver six punishing victories to reach her third Grand Slam Final.
The woman went four hours with Lauren Davis, finally earning a 15-13 victory in the decider. She injured her other foot through hours of grinding in the heat, yet soldiered on, defeating Angelique Kerber 9-7 in the third to reach the championship match.
In the Final, battling through both injuries, she fought for another three sets with Caroline Wozniacki. Losing that match and the #1 ranking didn’t sit well with the Romanian. She’s here in Doha, despite the pain, to gain back the sport’s top position.
Halep v Makarova: Part VI
Simona and Ekaterina have a history. Halep has won three of their five matches, however last year in Washington D.C., Simona was forced to retire in the third set of their Quarterfinal. Conditions were unbearably humid and by the third set, Halep was seeing two of everything.
Better conditions. Better Result
Humidity’s a non-issue in Doha, and Halep wasted no time proving it. Simona was up 3-0 by the first changeover, held the rest of the way to take the first, then didn’t allow Ekaterina a single game in set-2.
By all appearances, the foot is A-OK; but after the match, Simona did ackowledge that she was still experiencing discomfort. The quick win felt great, especially with the World #1 ranking on the line this week, but she’s still “cautiously optimistic” about the nagging injury.
Up Next:  Anastasija Sevastova -15- (LAT)
World #15 Anastasija Sevstova won two quick sets over Naomi Osaka on Wednesday. Simona and Anastasija have played eight times; Sevastova’s won three. Halep won their last four matches in straight sets, including a 60 60 victory in the 2016 Bucharest Final (ouch). They played three times last year, in the Stuttgart Quarters, the Madrid Semi’s and Cincinnati’s Round of 16; all victories for Simona Halep.
4-years-ago, this 26-year-old won her 8th WTA Singles title right here in Doha. Since then, she’s won 8 MORE, has reached three Grand Slam Finals; and last year, ended the season as the #1 Player in the World. Her consistency is extraordinary. She broke into the WTA’s top-5 shortly after earning the 2014 Doha title, and has remained inside the top-5 for nearly four consecutive years. She now owns 29 career wins over fellow top-10 opponents, including a victory over World #1 Serena Williams at the 2014 WTA Finals Singapore. Competing here in Doha for the 5th time, from Romania – Please welcome 2014 Qatar Total Open Champion, and the #2 Player in the World, Simona Halep
This 29-year-old is a 4-time Grand Slam Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and has been ranked as high #8 in the World. Last year alone, she defeated 9 top-10 players, including her first win over a World #1, defeating Angelique Kerber at Roland Garros. She went on to win her 3rd WTA Singles title in Washington DC; and last month, earned her 29th career top-10 victory, defeating Jelena Ostapenko in Sydney. A 2-time Grand Slam “Singles” Semifinalist, she’s also a 3-time Grand Slam Doubles Champion, won the Mixed Doubles title at the 2012 US Open, and claimed Olympic Gold at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. A 2-time Fed Cup Finalist, she helped lift her country to the Fed Cup title in 2008. Competing in her 7th Qatar Total Open, from Russia – Please welcome, Ekaterina Makarova