Romanian Halep outlasts Haddad Maia for third Canadian Open crown

SIMONA HALEP — REUTERS

SIMONA Halep ended Beatriz Haddad Maia’s dream run in Toronto with a hard-fought 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory to claim her third Canadian Open title on Sunday.

Halep’s serving woes from her semifinal win carried over at the outset of the final as she produced four double faults and was broken in the opening game before quickly falling 3-0 behind.

But the Romanian responded by changing her tactics, drawing the Brazilian into longer rallies to reel off six straight games and she sealed the opening set when she blasted a forehand winner, pumping her fist as the supportive crowd roared their approval.

Haddad Maia dominated the second set but got tight in the decider, badly missing a forehand wide to hand Halep a 4-1 lead she would not relinquish.

The two-time Grand Slam champion sealed her ninth WTA 1000 title when Haddad Maia’s service return found the net on match point under sunny skies in the Canadian city.

“At the start, it was really tough,” Halep told reporters.

“She’s lefty, so it’s coming different, the spin. She’s very powerful. She’s solid. And it’s never easy to play against her.”

With the win, the former world number one will re-enter the top 10 next week at number six.

“I’ve been many years there, but now I feel like it’s a big deal to be back in top 10. I’m really happy with this performance,” she said.

The loss ended an impressive run at the tournament for Haddad Maia, who toppled local favorite Leylah Fernandez, world number one Iga Świątek and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic en route to the final.

Haddad Maia will debut in the top 20 for the first time next week and her success caught the attention of Brazilian soccer hero Pele. — Reuters