National Bank Open: Simona Halep crowned champion in Toronto

National Bank Open: Simona Halep crowned champion in Toronto

TORONTO – The triumph of the Romanian Simona Halep in Toronto, her third conquest on Canadian soil, is under the sign of perseverance, even of a certain rebirth.

“Just a few months ago, I never thought I could lift this trophy,” Halep revealed on Sunday after her victory in the final against Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia. I thank Patrick for believing in me and being on my side. I hope we now have several other titles together.

After winning in three sets by 6-3, 2-6 and 6-3, for a show of more than two hours at Sobeys Stadium, “Simona” reserved a long hug for French coach Patrick Mouratoglou. The two have officially teamed up since April.

“When I started working with her, I know that I had the perception of having been heavily criticized,” confesses Mouratoglou, during a generous interview with the QMI Agency, after the victory of his protégé. She had a very harsh judgment of herself, and it was probably influenced by the things she heard.”

“What I personally look at are the qualities of people, continued the French coach. It is not with fouls that you win big tournaments, but with qualities. When you highlight the quality of people, they flourish and become stronger.”

By virtue of this conquest in Toronto, Halep, 30, should go from 15th to sixth in the world. As a finalist she will move closer to the top 15 Beatriz Haddad Maia, nicknamed “Bia”, who was ranked 24th in the world before the start of the tournament.

“It’s not the trophy I wanted, but I still dedicate it to my dad and grandfather, because it’s Father’s Day in Brazil,” Haddad Maia said.

“No celebration,” Halep said determinedly. I have to go to Cincinnati to practice, that’s how I’m going to celebrate.”

electrical atmosphere

Still, after her victories in Montreal in 2016 and 2018, Halep was happy to be able to offer this new crown in Canada to her many fans of Romanian origin in the Greater Toronto Area.

“It’s a special day,” he said. I fought very hard to be able to win in front of all these people with Romanian flags.”

In the stands, the Mucea family, based in Toronto, prominently wore blue, yellow and red. The young Anna, 19, had even convinced her friend Ryan Smith, from Ottawa, to wear the Romanian colours.

“Not only is she a very good tennis player, but she is also an inspiring and positive person,” Anna said, praising the athlete’s mental toughness.

“The Romanian fans are very important to our event,” Toronto tournament director Karl Hale said. They manage to create an electric atmosphere.

An edition marked by the withdrawal of Serena

Beyond Simona Halep’s victory in Toronto, the 2022 edition of the National Bank Open women’s tournament will go down in history. It will always be the one where the great champion Serena Williams announced that she was going to hang up her racket.

“I knew his retirement was coming, but I didn’t expect such a bombshell on Tuesday,” Toronto tournament director Karl Hale said in taking stock of the week. He was sad, because he is a player that we would have liked to see continue for eternity. At the same time, on Wednesday we live an evening that we will never forget, whether it is the spectators, the players or the coaching staff present.

Despite a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the second round, Williams was understandably invited to speak after the match to bid the Canadian crowd farewell.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said in particular, wiping away a few tears in the process.

Photo Agency QMI, Dominic Chan

Montreal and Toronto: popular destinations

To crown this evening with Serena, the Canadian Bianca Andreescu had continued on the ground by beating the French Alizé Cornet in three sets.

Photo Agency QMI, Dominic Chan

“It was party time until midnight,” Hale summed up.

The tournament director is also pleased with the good feedback received from WTA players over the last week.

“It’s not just Serena, but the other players also really like the tournaments in Montreal and Toronto,” Hale said.

We learned that a new relaxation room in Toronto, still a rarity on tour, would be particularly popular with athletes.

– The doubles event in the Toronto tournament was won by Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff. They beat Ellen Pérez and Nicole Melichar-Martínez by a score of 6-4, 6-7 (5) and 10-5.

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