Elise Mertens had to pull out all the stops on Monday evening in her first match at the highly regarded tournament in Dubai. Only after more than 2.5 hours of tennis, the Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova folded 4-6, 6-2 and 6-4.
Mertens is eighteenth in the ranking a lot higher than Tomova, number 140, but there was little noticeable difference in level. “I feel especially relieved,” said the Limburgian immediately after the match during an interview on court. “It was a very exciting match. She took the first set and I tried to stay in the game afterwards. ”
Tomova came in as a ‘lucky loser’ for the French Fiona Ferro. He canceled after her semi-final last week in Lyon. “I only heard it twenty minutes before the start of the match,” said Mertens. “That is always a bit difficult. But now I am especially happy that I have made it. ”
Mertens takes on the American Shelby Rogers (WTA 49) in the sixteenth finals. She set aside the Estonian Kaia Kanepi (WTA 62) with 7-6 (7/4) and 6-2. In 2016, Mertens won her only previous meeting with 28-year-old Rogers at the Mallorca tournament.