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Simona Halep, Pablo Carreno Busta clinch landmark titles in Canada

Halep won her ninth WTA 1000 event in Toronto, while Carreno Busta won his first in Montreal.

Simona Halep (L) and Pablo Carreno Busta (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.
“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 very special moment. I will enjoy it. I will give myself credit. I’m just dreaming for more.”

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

“I think I’m getting more competitive every week and we are working the right way,” Haddad Maia said. “The results are here because we are focused on the process.”

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.
“How good is it to see Brazilians conquering more and more in the sport,” Pele posted on social media ahead of the match.
“I want to congratulate Bia for reaching the Toronto WTA 1000 final, but above that, for the beautiful journey so far.”

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Carreno Busta wins biggest title of his career

Pablo Carreno Busta said claiming the biggest title of his career at the Canadian Masters on Sunday has given him a massive boost in confidence and self-belief for the remainder of the season.

The unseeded Spaniard beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 6-3 6-3 to win the ATP 1000 event in Montreal, which is part of the U.S. Open Series leading up to the year’s final Grand Slam.

“Not just in the U.S. Open Series, but in the rest of the season it’s very important,” Carreno Busta, who reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2020, told reporters.

“I won 1,000 points. I won a trophy, a very important trophy. My game during all the week was very, very high. I play really, really good from the first match against (Matteo) Berrettini until the last one against Hubie.

“I think I just need to continue this way, believe in myself, being aggressive, and for sure I will have chances to win matches in this season and I hope in the next ones also.”

The 31-year-old said his long wait for a maiden Masters title had not weighed on his shoulders, pointing to compatriot David Ferrer, who had a career-high ranking of third but won just one Masters tournament.

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“I know it’s not easy to win these kind of titles,” Carreno Busta said. “Not everyone has a Masters 1000 on his career. For example, Ferrer was world number three and just won one. I know it’s very difficult to win it. It wasn’t extra pressure to have this title. But it’s true that now I have it and I will enjoy it, no?”

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The U.S. Open main draw begins on Aug. 29.

First published on: 15-08-2022 at 05:10:02 pm
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