Fireworks: Halep holds off Haddad Maia for Toronto title

By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, August 14, 2022

Declaring “the fire is back”, Simona Halep brought scorching grassroots intensity as she beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to claim her 24th career Toronto title.

photo credit: Getty

Channeling consistency and combustibility, Simona Halep is once again queen of Canada.

A day after declaring “the fire is back”, Halep beat the scorching base intensity Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to win his 24th career title in Toronto.

After: Serena will play Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati

This is the third National Bank Open championship for Halep and her first in Toronto after winning the 2016 and 2018 titles in Montreal. Playing in her fourth Canadian Masters final, Halep will return to the Top 10 for the first time in a year as she comes to #6 in live ranking. Halep scored his record-breaking 185th career WTA 1000 match win; her 24th titles are fourth among active women behind Serena Williams (73), Venus Williams (49) and Petra Kvitova (29).

The 30-year-old Romanian took her 2022 record to 38-10, which is the second most wins on the WTA Tour behind the world No. Iga Swiatek.

It was 24th-placed Haddad Maia who made history by becoming the first Brazilian woman to beat a reigning WTA world No. 1 when she knocked out Swiatek in the quarter-finals.

In the end, today’s fourth encounter between Halep and Haddad Maia resulted in the Romanian’s skill at extending the points, beating the left-hander’s aim to exterminate the points.

Tennis Express

The first Brazilian to contest a WTA 1000, Haddad Maia looked much more relaxed than Halep at the start.

The former world No. 1 spat four double faults – all into the net – giving the break and a 2-0 lead to the southpaw. Four of Halep’s nine double faults came in that first service game.

Haddad Maia saved break points, extending their lead to 3-0.

A frustrated Halep began to calm down, break deeper drives and extend points.

Patiently probing the corners and stretching the lanky Brazilian, Halep turned back in game five. Smashing an ace from wide, Halep held at 30 to level at 3-3 after 33 minutes. This warm take blasted out a chorus of “Simona! Simona!” chants of supporters waving Romanian flags.

Imposing his coverage and consistency in front of the upper court, Halep cut Haddad Maia into longer points. Halep drew back-to-back forehand errors for 4-3.

Halep’s backhand return on the line was a weapon on the publicity side as Haddad Maia repeatedly hit the slider serve to try and fire the Romanian wide. A double fault from Haddad Maia gave Halep set points. Halep opened up the field with a backhand then hit a backhand down the line, leaving the Brazilian swinging in the air. Halep notched her sixth straight match to take a one-set lead after 40 minutes.

Beaten in longer rallies, Haddad Maia changed her approach and tried to play with the front foot earlier in the points. The world No. 24 broke at 30 to open the second set and saved a break point to save the break.

Haddad Maia, 26, was calling the shots and pressuring Halep with his aggression. Haddad Maia scared Halep into committing another break as she took a 3-0 lead.

Hitting declarative drives, Haddad Maia rallied from love-30 down holding to extend to 4-0.

Haddad Maia won eight of the last 10 points played on her serve, wrapping up the second set to force a decider.

Throughout the tournament, Halep reset under stress and responded with basic responses. The two-time champion did it again, leading her opponent to successive break errors for a 2-0 lead in the final set.

Brazilian and Romanian fans exchanged cheers in support of their players as Haddad Maia glued the baseline with a backhand to break in game three to see Halep, whose backhand down the line was a key shot, come right back continuation in the fourth game.

The 15th-seeded Romanian was down 15-30, confirming the break with a fine forehand for 4-1. Working the ball from side to side, Halep raced forward to hit a smash punctuating a love hold for 5-2.

Serving for the title, Halep ended an extended rally with a crackling cross forehand pass to open. Cutting a slippery serve brought Halep to a championship triple point.

Halep, 30, sealed her 24th career championship on a clean comeback and raised her arms to the skies as she absorbed the joy of her first title since Melbourne 250 in January and the appreciated roars of “Simona! Simona!” fans.

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