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Halep wins Canadian Open title; Murray edges Wawrinka

August 16, 2022 07:05 IST
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Halep beats Haddad Maia for third Canadian Open title

Simona Halep

IMAGE: Simona Halep poses with the National Bank Open trophy. Photograph: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports/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."

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."

Tiafoe beats Berrettini, Murray edges Wawrinka in Cincinnati

Stanislas Wawrinka

IMAGE: Andy Murray tosses the ball to serve during his match against Stanislas Wawrinka. Photograph: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Frances Tiafoe was unable to break Matteo Berrettini's serve but the American showed grit in the tiebreakers to beat last year's Wimbledon runner-up 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(5) in the opening round of the Cincinnati Open on Monday.

Britain's Andy Murray got the better of Stan Wawrinka 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5 in a clash of former Grand Slam winners to advance at the ATP Masters event, the last tune-up before the U.S. Open kicks off in New York from Aug. 29.

Tiafoe had failed to capitalize on five match points against Nick Kyrgios in Washington earlier this month and he struggled to get over the line against Berrettini, squandering three attempts to put the match to bed.

But with the crowd willing him on Tiafoe did not let a fourth chance go by, sealing victory after two hours and 52 minutes.

"People don't understand, obviously results haven't really shown how well I've been playing. I've been playing some great tennis, honestly," Tiafoe said on court.

"I really just needed this. I know it's a first-round match .... But everyone knew why I needed this against a quality player, so it was big. I know I've beaten a lot of these guys, but it hasn't happened of late."

Tiafoe failed to convert any of his eight breakpoint chances against Berrettini, who was at a career-high of sixth in the world rankings in January but has since dropped to 15th.

The only break of serve came in the second set when Berrettini leveled the match. The Italian then saved a match point at 5-6 in the third and two more in the deciding tiebreaker before Tiafoe sealed victory.

Tiafoe will next meet fellow American Sebastian Korda, who defeated Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-4.

In their 22nd meeting, neither Murray nor Wawrinka managed a break of serve in the first set. A double fault from the Swiss in the tiebreak opened the door for Murray, who took the opener when Wawrinka sent a forehand long.

In the second set, a broken racket string led Murray to shank a shot that handed set points to Wawrinka and he converted on his first opportunity to level the match.

Murray, 35, and Wawrinka, 37, both needed visits from the physios in the third set, which Murray claimed when he ripped a return winner on his fourth match point.

Murray is now 13-9 against fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka.

"We're not young anymore and matches like this are a lot tougher than they were when we were in our mid-20s," Murray said.

"Both of us gave our best right until the end."

Next up for Murray is fellow Briton and ninth seed Cameron Norrie, who beat Holger Rune 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4.

Croatian Marin Cilic's resurgent season continued with a routine 6-3 6-3 win over Jaume Munar and Argentine Diego Schwartzman found his form late to beat Alex Molcan 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Americans John Isner and Marcos Giron, Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut and Canadian Denis Shapovalov also advanced to the second round of the Masters 1000 tournament.

Kyrgios opts out of Australia's Davis Cup team

Nick Kyrgios has again opted out of Australia's Davis Cup team for next month's finals, leaving Alex de Minaur to lead the nation's charge in Germany.

Kyrgios has skipped the team event since 2019 but would have been a strong addition given his career-best form in recent weeks which included a run to a maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.

"It would have been great to have Nick Kyrgios in the team but unfortunately he was unavailable for this tie," team captain Lleyton Hewitt said in a media release on Tuesday.

Australia is drawn in Pool C with Germany, France and Belgium for the Sept. 13-18 finals in Hamburg.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin, Jason Kubler and Wimbledon men's doubles champions Matt Ebden and Max Purcell were also included in Australia's six-man team.

Eliminated at the group stage last year, Australia are bidding for their 29th Davis Cup title and first since 2003.

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