Halep powers to Qatar crown
Romanian ace Simona Halep beat Angelique Kerber in straight sets to claim the WTA Qatar Total Open title in Doha on Sunday.
The seventh seed triumphed 6-2 6-3 over the German sixth seed to collect her seventh career title and the biggest - she won the other six last year - as her astonishing march up the rankings continues.
The tone for the match was set when Kerber lost her first service game to love on a double fault.
She again dropped her serve as Halep took the first set and the Romanian then broke her opponent once more at the start of the second.
While Kerber managed to briefly stop the rot by breaking back, the powerful Halep secured two more breaks in the fifth and last games to win, with Kerber finishing the match as she had started it - double-faulting on the final point.
Halep, who also beat the second and fourth seeds - Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani - on her way to the title, admitted she had grown in confidence as the tournament had progressed.
She said: "I never believed I could win the tournament when I came here.
"I had been competing indoors, but mentally I am very strong and I got the feel of the balls and the court here very well.
"I have to enjoy this now as the best moment of my life."
Halep did nothing in the first five months of 2013 to suggest she is a top 10 player, but her career took off in May in Rome when she reached the final before losing to Serena Williams.
She then won titles in Nurnberg on clay, S'Hertogenbosch on grass, Budapest on clay, New Haven on outdoor hard courts, then Moscow and Sofia on indoor hard courts - a genuine all-court player.
On Monday she will move up one place to No 9 in the world rankings and the 22-year-old is closing fast on Sara Errani, Jelena Jankovic and Petra Kvitova.