Halep crowned for the third time at the National Bank Open

Under the watchful eye of Patrick Mouratoglou, former boyfriend and trainer of Serena Williams, Halep defeated Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who had a dream week in the Queen City, in three sets of 6-3, 2-6 and 6-3 in 2 h 18 min.

Already victorious in Montreal in 2016  (New window)and 2018 (New window), the 15th seed thus joins Serena Williams and Martina Navratilova titled three times in Canada. Only Chris Evert and Monica Seles have one more success.

It’s hard to compare. I am a different person. I have changed so much. But the joy of winning a title is the sameHalep said.

It’s a big win, in my opinion. I accept it with both hands. Gives me extra momentum to believe there’s more to comeadded the winner.

Thanks to this ninth title in the 1000 series, the most prestigious tournaments after those of the grand slam, Halep will return to the world top 10 on Monday by climbing to 6th place.

Hadda Maia does not have to be ashamed of her performance. During her stay in Toronto, the 26-year-old player brought down the Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez, but especially the favorite Iga Swiatek before adding to her list on Saturday a former world number one, the Czech Karolina Pliskova.

A year ago, she was ranked 183rd in the world rankings. Arrived in Ontario at the 24th level, she will further improve her ranking on Monday by climbing for the first time in the top 20, in 16th position.

The experience of big events has made the difference for Simona Halep against a newcomer rival at this stage of a tournament in this category.

Simone Halep

Photo: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette

Simona deserved it, she played better than me. She was braver. Sometimes we learn, and today is a day to learnsaid Haddad Maia.

Two weeks away from the United States Open, where her best run ended in the semi-finals in 2015, Halep confirms her great summer, marked by a semi-final at Wimbledon (New window). And more generally his return to form, a year after leaving the top 10 due to a series of shoulder and thigh injuries.

When I started the year, I didn’t have much confidence and I set the goal of being, at the end of the year, top 10. And here I amshe mentioned.

It is therefore a very special moment. I will appreciate it. I will give myself credit. I dream of more. »

A quote from Simone Halep

The thread of the game

This fourth confrontation between the two players got off to a bad start for the Romanian, who had previously led two wins to one. Halep committed five double faults in her first service game, in addition to suffering attacks from the baseline of an opponent then in no way intimidated by the stakes.

After a little anger, she quickly pulled herself together. The Romanian reversed the situation by finding accuracy and varying the strokes, so much so that she made Haddad Maia play badly to win six games in a row.

In the second set, the left-hander from Sao Paulo started again, seizing her opponent’s serve twice, to escape at 4-0. Redoubled combativeness in the exchanges, she pushed Halep to the fault to logically equalize.

Halep regained the lead in the third set with a break entry, but Haddad Maia was able to recover to 2-1 on his fourth opportunity, with a forehand that bit the line by a millimeter. A short respite for the Brazilian, again trapped in the service, and the concrete defense of Halep did the rest.

This return to form, she attributed it in particular to the work done with Mouratouglou at his academy on the Côte d’Azur.

It was Patrick who gave me back this good energy. Not only that, but also the atmosphere of the Academy. Seeing all these young people fighting every day to achieve their dreams gave me a lot of energy. I feel like I can still do it. I feel it in me. That’s why I keep working hard every daythe 30-year-old explained this week.

A player hits a forehand.

Beatriz Haddad Maia

Photo: Getty Images/Vaughn Ridley

Energy, Beatriz Haddad Maia does not lack it. The future finally seems to belong to her, she who is experiencing a sudden and late emergence on the circuit, since she won the first three tournaments of her career this season, in Saint-Malo, Nottingham and Birmingham.

This first setback in an event of another size will reinforce his experience which only asks to grow, in the middle of a career long strewn with pitfalls, with serious injuries to a shoulder and vertebrae, and an anti-doping control positive for anabolics in 2019.

She then served 10 months of suspension, although her lawyers proved that it was a human error of the pharmacy that provided him with food supplements.

She now knows a bright future, with the possibility of doing even better, on a much larger stage, in New York, at the end of the month.

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