Halep says Serena dominance could be ending

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DOHA: World No.4 Simona Halep said on Monday that Serena Williams’ dominance of women’s tennis could be coming to an end with every Grand Slam now “open to win” for the top players.

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Speaking in Doha where she is preparing to compete at the Qatar Open, the Romanian said victories by Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open in January and Flavia Pennetta’s US Open triumph last September had inspired others in the top 10.

“I think now every tournament is open to win. Everyone can win,” she said.

“I know that Serena is still there and she’s very strong. But as I said before, if Angelique won this (Australian), Pennetta won the US Open, in my opinion, I can believe more that I have a chance to win. I think every player thinks the same.

“It’s a chance for us to fight and believe that we can win a Grand Slam. I do now. We just need more time. We just need more confidence. Why not to believe that we can beat also Serena.”

Asked if she could win her first Grand Slam in 2016, the 24-year-old replied: “Why not? We’ll see.”

The closest she has come to winning a Grand Slam was in Paris in 2014, when she lost the final in three sets to Maria Sharapova.

Halep was speaking just hours after she fell to number four in the official World Tennis Association rankings. She has previously been as high as number two, but has slipped back after a poor start to 2016 which saw her lose in the first round at the Australian Open.

Also playing in Qatar this week are four of the world’s top five players — Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska, Garbine Muguruza as well as Halep.

Kerber is ranked second in the world, Radwanska three and Muguruza, five, according to the latest rankings which were published on Monday.

The only player missing from the top five in Doha, is world number one Williams who pulled out last week, citing flu.

World number six Sharapova was also slated to play in Qatar but pulled because of an arm injury.

Kerber, Radwanska, Muguruza and Halep—who all received byes to the second tround in Doha—could all be in action on Tuesday.

AFP

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