After a hard game, Beatriz Haddad from São Paulo lost today to the Romanian Simone Halep by 2 sets to 1 and was runner-up at the Toronto Open. With the feat, Bia gained eight positions and became the 16th in the women’s world ranking, the best placement of a Brazilian tennis player – between men and women – since the Gustavo Kuerten era, number 1 in the world between 2000 and 2001.
Before Bia, the best Brazilian had been Thomaz Bellucci, who was 21st in 2010. Today’s defeat came after a hard and very exhausting game, in which the Brazilian started winning, but allowed her opponent to turn around. The result ended in 2 sets 1, with partials of 3/6, 6/2 and 3/6. With the title, Halep, who was once the best in the world, goes to the top 6.
Even with the defeat, Bia Haddad’s brand places her among the great names of Brazilian tennis. In her career in Toronto, the São Paulo native won victories over the Polish Iga Swi?tek, number 1 in the world, and the Swiss Belinda Becic, the current Olympic champion. The last time a Brazilian won a top 1 was in 2004, when Guga defeated Roger Federer at Roland Garros.
In today’s final, Bia entered the court more connected than her opponent, broke Halep’s service, taking advantage of three double faults, and immediately opened 3 games to 0. But the experienced Romanian, four years older, showed why she has already been in the top 1 of the world ranking: Halep hit his serve, won six games and closed the first set at 3/6.
The bleachers on the court in Toronto reflected the Canadian heat and chanted Bia and Halep’s name in between points, and the organization had to call for silence a few times on the return to play. The Brazilian responded to the defeat in the first set with more aggression in the second, opened 4/0 and closed in 6/2, giving few chances to the Romanian.
In the third set, Halep’s experience and repertoire made the difference. The Romanian stopped risking the serve, avoided committing double faults and played a more conservative game, blocking the Brazilian’s attempts and exposing herself little to errors. Bia couldn’t open the game, leaving the opponent always in the center of the court, which made Halep’s life easier. In the last game, the Romanian confirmed her service, making 3/6 and securing the title.