Simona Halep act at Canadian Open stuns tennis world: 'Incredible'
Simona Halep has sent tennis fans into a frenzy after clinching a third Canadian Open title in spectacular fashion against Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Halep kept her control against the unpredictable Brazilian, winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in an absorbing and high quality contest in Toronto.
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Romania's former World No.1 added the trophy in Toronto to those she captured in Montreal in 2016 and 2018, with the latest piece of silverware her first under new coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Halep needed two and a quarter hours to deny Haddad Maia an upset victory, following the Brazilian's giant-killing run to the final.
One point that typified the epic battle between the players came with Halep up 15-30 in the deciding set and looking to jump out to a 3-1 lead.
Both players were going at it in a fierce exhibition of baseline hitting, with Halep finally settling the intense rally with a booming forehand winner.
The astonishing point sparked raucous applause from fans inside the stadium, with commentators and viewers left in awe.
Admin here, running out of superlatives for this final!
Just, enjoy! 🥵@Simona_Halep | #NBO22 pic.twitter.com/MUbb41BQch
— wta (@WTA) August 14, 2022
This final is 🔥🔥🔥 !
— ◇ThinkTwice◇ (@noturstocare_) August 14, 2022
Going on a rally with Halep is dangerous. #NationalBankOpen. #LS22
— Сизвесихле Мавузо (@stitchious_1) August 14, 2022
Her Opponent pushed her to do what she does best, Simona is the rally queen, well done to both players 👏
— Patti 🇨🇦 🇺🇦 🇵🇱 (@patriciantaurus) August 15, 2022
Unbelievable show we’re getting from the women’s game these days. #HaddadMaia v #Halep is extremely high quality.
— Rumana Siddiky (@rumanasiddiky) August 14, 2022
The amazing Simona Halep. Such an inspiration 🎾👟🏆 https://t.co/nu1vRF1Iwt
— Dana Cramariuc (@DanaCr2) August 14, 2022
Too spectacular for words! How amazing is @Simona_Halep?! Love her and love watching her!!!
— Andrada Frunza (@AndradaF_TDEC) August 14, 2022
What a game
— Guy (@GuiPhila) August 14, 2022
All up, Halep had to shrug off nine double-faults, breaking Haddad Maia five times from 10 chances as she became the third player with at least nine WTA 1000 titles, after Serena Williams (13) and Victoria Azarenka (10).
"Here there are many Romanians and they always come to support me. I'm really happy that I could win also here," said Halep, who was backed by chants of "Si-mo-na!" from her vocal fans throughout the match.
Simona Halep in fine form ahead of US Open
Halep, who was playing in her ninth final at the elite level as Haddad Maia tackled her first, won her 38th match of the season and claimed her biggest success since the Rome trophy in May, 2020.
After a year outside of the world's top-10 she is projected to rise to sixth this week with the start of the US Open approaching on August 29.
"I was there for many years but now I feel like it's a big deal to be back in top 10," she said. "I'm really happy with this performance.
"When I started the year I was not very confident and I set the goal to be top-10 at the end of the year - and here I am.
"It's a very special moment. I will enjoy it. I will give myself credit. I'm just dreaming for more."
Haddad Maia, enjoying a breakout season that included grasscourt titles at Birmingham and Nottingham in June, had toppled World No.1 Iga Swiatek on her way to the final.
She struck first with a break on the way to a quick 3-0 lead but two-time grand slam champion Halep quickly responded, winning the opening set as she spun off six straight games to claim the opener 6-3.
Haddad Maia answered in the opening game of the second set with a break, consolidating through a double break for 4-0 before Halep stopped the rot to hold for 1-4.
The Brazilian delivered a huge serve on set point three games later to square the contest at a set apiece.
But Halep came out ahead after they traded three breaks of serve in the final set, wrapping it up on her second match point as Haddad Maia fired a service return into the net.
Haddad Maia said she was at times overwhelmed by the occasion.
"It was an emotional beginning, even when I was 3-Love up I couldn't hold the emotions. I couldn't control myself," she said.
"Simona started to play better, to improve. I was trying to be more aggressive.
"Today Simona deserved it, she played better than me," added Haddad Maia, the first Brazilian to reach the final of a WTA 1000 event. "She was more brave.
"Sometimes we learn - today, it's a day to learn."
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