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Halep Won't Defend Dubai

A creaky back has knocked Simona Halep out of Dubai.

Halep announced she won't defend her Dubai title due to ongoing lower back pain that also forced her out of this week's Total Qatar Open in Doha.

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"Unfortunately I am not feeling 100 percent in my lower back and I have made the tough decision to withdraw from @DDFTennis," Halep said on Twitter. "I have great memories from winning my 20th WTA title in Dubai last year so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to defend my title."

A gritty Halep repelled red-hot Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in an electrifying final to capture her 20th career championship at the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

"Well crazy emotions to be honest," Halep told Annabel Croft afterward. "It’s been a great match. So I really want to congratulate my opponent, Elena, she played really really well. "And she’s so young so she has many years to play at the highest level. Good luck and well done for this beautiful tournament that you played."

Rising from competitive death by saving a match point in her 1-6, 6-2, 7-6(7) triumph over Ons Jabeur in her opener, Halped started and ended Dubai battling through third-set breakers to capture her first title since she won Wimbledon last July.

Photo credit: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Facebook