Dubai champion Simona Halep to make US Open decision soon after clinching Prague title

Romanian defeated Mertens 6-2, 7-5 in the Czech capital for the 21st title of her career

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 16:  Simona Halep of Romania competes in the Women's Singles Final against Elise Mertens of Belgium during the WTA Prague Open tennis tournament at TK Sparta Praha on August 16, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Martin Sidorjak/Getty Images)
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Simona Halep said she will make a decision about whether to play the US Open on Monday after the world No 2 picked up where she left off in Dubai by winning the Prague Open.

Speaking after her victory over Elise Mertens in the final in the Czech capital, the 28-year-old Romanian said "she just needed her time" to make a decision.

Halep has appeared reluctant to make the trip to the US, which is still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, but said this week she needed to see what "changes" the organisers would make in terms of "travelling and stuff".

"Now it's too fast to take a decision, I just want to enjoy this victory and then I will have a thought about the US Open," she added.

With world No 1 Ash Barty and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, as well as a host of other top players, already deciding against playing at Flushing Meadows, organisers will be hoping Halep says yes.

Halep was playing her first event since coronavirus pandemic shut down tennis in March. At her most recent event, she won the 20th title of her career at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

After some rusty performances during the week, Halep found her groove to beat Mertens 6-2, 7-5 and said she was encouraged by her form and the health protocols put in place in Prague.

"We felt really safe here and all the rules were respected," she told reporters. "It's a bit stressful but the fact that everyone was good these 10 days means everything was done well."

Halep had struggled past Polona Hercog in her first match of the week and was also far from her best against Barbora Krejcikova and compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu.

But apart from some understandable fatigue, she looked far more like herself against Belgian Mertens, winning in one hour 33 minutes to earn her 21st career WTA trophy.

Mertens blazed into a 2-0 lead with a flurry of winners, but Halep found her range from the baseline responded by reeling off seven successive games to take control.

Halep did not have things all her own way though and was broken back early in the second set as Mertens again went on the attack. A wobbly service game allowed Halep to move a break ahead again in the fifth game, although Mertens retaliated again to level the second set at 4-4.

Halep broke to lead 6-5 though and finished it off with a heavy forehand.

"Second set I was 4-2 up but dead and felt very tired," she said. "But today, mentally I was really strong which allowed me to win in two sets."