MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Elise Mertens secured her sixth profession WTA title when she made mild work of skilled Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-4 6-1 to win the Gippsland Trophy Australian Open warm-up match on Sunday.
The world quantity 20, who was handed her closing spot when Naomi Osaka withdrew from their semi-final with harm, merely dominated the brief contest from the baseline on Margaret Court docket Area.
World quantity 94 Kanepi, enjoying in her first closing since 2013, had a few powerful three-setters earlier within the match after popping out of quarantine and struggled to maintain up with the tempo set by her opponent.
Two breaks have been sufficient for Mertens to seal the primary set and she or he raced away with the second as 35-year-old Kanepi’s error-count rose, the Belgian sealing the title together with her sixth ace.
Mertens, who has gained extra WTA matches than another participant because the tour resumed in August after the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, stated the title triumph would give her a giant confidence enhance heading into the Australian Open.
The 25-year-old, who misplaced to Caroline Wozniacki within the 2018 semi-finals at Melbourne Park, is 18th seed for the Grand Slam and faces Canadian Leylah Fernandez within the first spherical on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, enhancing by Peter Rutherford)