World no. 1 Simona Halep beat Katerina Siniakova, who was the defending champion, in a thrilling three-set encounter to win the Shenzhen Open title in Southern China on Saturday.
Halep, 26, raced to a first set win in under half an hour in a final that started six hours after its scheduled time because of repeated rain delays. Siniakova would, however, find her footing in the second as she stayed focused to level the match at a set apiece.
Romania’s Halep then showed why she’s the world’s no. 1 as she bounced back from losing the second set to hand Siniakova a bagel in the deciding set, winning 6-1 2-6 6-0 in just 72 minutes.
“We had a great match today. I tried everything to win… I just try to enjoy the moment even if it’s a little bit different indoors. It’s not easy but we did our job and I‘m happy that I could win the first title of the year,” Halep said.
Starting the year with a title win and with the Australian Open only 9 days away, the Romanian will surely be riding a wave of confidence.
“It’s a great beginning of course to start the year with a title but thinking about the Grand Slam title is too far,” Halep added.
“I‘m just taking it tournament by tournament and of course I will give my best in every match I will play and my dream is to win a Grand Slam.”
With defending champion and women’s great, Serena Williams having pulled out from the Australian Open, Halep and Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, who won the Brisbane International title on Saturday, have made strong statements ahead of the event, which begins on Jan. 15.