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Halep overcomes Haddad Maia challenge in Toronto final; set to rise to No.6 in the world

Toronto, Aug 15 (IANS) Romanian tennis ace and two-time Grand Slam singles winner Simona Halep got the better of first-time WTA 1000 finalist Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil to win her third National Bank Open title and the 24th of her career.

Winner in the 2016 and 2018 editions of the tournament, Halep ended the run of Haddad Maia with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win achieved in 2 hours and 16 minutes. The 30-year-old former world No.1 will return to the Top 10 when the WTA Rankings are announced later on Monday.

“It’s never easy to play against (Haddad Maia),” Halep was quoted as saying by wtatennis.com after the match. “She beat me a few weeks ago. … I knew that it was going to be a good challenge and a good fight. So it’s been a battle today, and I’m really happy that I could actually be stronger in the important moments.”

Halep has won a single event three times for the first time in her career. However, this is Halep’s first triumph in Toronto — her previous National Bank Open titles came at the Montreal site.

“It makes it even more special because I really wanted to win it in Toronto as well,” Halep said. “Here there are many Romanians and they always come to support me. So I’m really happy that I could also win here.”

Halep, who was ranked No.15 in the world before the tournament, is projected to rise to No.6 following the title triumph.

“I feel like it’s a big deal to be back in the Top 10,” Halep said. “When I started the year I was not very confident and I set the goal to be, at the end of the year, Top 10. And here I am. So it’s a very special moment. I will enjoy it. I will give myself credit. I’m just dreaming for more.”

Halep has had a stellar 2022 season. She has won 38 matches, second only to world No.1 Polish player Iga Swiatek’s 49 for the year. This is Halep’s second title of the season, following a trophy at Melbourne Summer Set 1 in January.

Haddad Maia, following her maiden run to the WTA 1000 tournament final, will make her Top 20 debut, with a projected ranking of No.16.

Haddad Maia also became the first Brazilian to reach the quarterfinals and beyond at a WTA 1000 event.

–IANS

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