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Halep battles emotions, eats up raucous crowd to win National Bank Open title

TORONTO — Blue, yellow and red flags fluttered and fans chanted “Si-Mo-Na!” Simona! When Simona Halep stood on Center Court with her fists clenched and her hands firmly in the air, she held them for quite some time while looking up at the sky.

On Sunday afternoon, the 30-year-old Romanian won the National Bank Open, defeating Beatriz Haddad Maia in three straight sets. The final against the women who have won an incredible three titles in Canada.

And as much as Halep loves playing for this country – she called it “special” in her post-match speech and had the crowd go wild – the fact is, Toronto in particular really loves Halep. The Romanian flag completely dominated the crowd on Sunday, with some wearing Romanian-colored clowns and cowboy hats, while others held signs that read, “We love Simona!” Some people are.

Fans, who helped make this the most-attended women’s event in tournament history, were thrilled to see Halep win. Their loud chants happened many times during the match, and the referee had to sweeten “thank you” and “please” several times to quiet them down so play could resume. did.

After the game, Halep, dressed in a Nike sweatshirt, black shorts and sneakers, placed the trophy on the table and said, “It’s great for me to have this much support because it’s hard. “Even when I was down during the match, they cheered me on at every point. When you have so many people next to you I feel, I feel a little bit stronger, so that’s very important.”

Halep feels much stronger than she did a few months ago. And as of Monday, she’ll regain her place among the world’s top 10.

“I was there for years and now I feel great to be back in the top 10,” the two-time Grand Slam winner said with a smile. “I’m really happy with this performance. I didn’t have a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year, so I set a goal to be in the top 10 at the end of the year. And here we are. It’s a very special moment. I have fun.I trust myself.I’m just dreaming more.”

And it also means a lot to Halep to dream more. Earlier this season, she said she was thinking of taking a step back from tennis, but she says she’s since started working with coach Patrick Mouratoglou and she’s got her “fire” back.

Indeed, there was fire in this championship game. More than the final score of 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 suggested, it was an incredible rally and a seesaw battle.

Halep didn’t do herself any favors early on. In her first service in her game, she committed her four double her faults, including a breakpoint. Serve was her biggest struggle all week.

“Oh yeah, it sucks,” said Halep. “It was a little stressful. I never thought I would double fault four times in one game. Sometimes you just have to calm down and accept that you’re fighting to regain your confidence.”

And has she taken the storm off that brutal start? Leading 0-3 in the first set, Halep not only kept serve for the first time on Sunday at the championship, but also served 1st in a game. He finished with a strong ace and won six games in a row to take the first set in crosscourt. winner. After the set point, Halep bent over and did a fist pump as the crowd roared and waved flags.

“I was a three-love, I couldn’t contain my emotions, I couldn’t control myself,” said Haddad Maia, who made history as the first Brazilian to defeat world No. 1 Yiga Swiatek earlier this week. said. Reach the final of a WTA 1000 event. “Simona started playing better. To improve.”

Halep also struggled with emotions this Sunday, which explained her slow start. “But today also her spin [because Haddad Maia is a lefty], took some time to get used to. And yeah, I settled after 0-3. I think I found a good rhythm. I did what I had to do. That’s why I was able to win six games in a row.”

But the second set was all Haddad Maia. Passing while Halep was in the net When his shot scored the Brazilian break his point, Haddad when his Maia converted on that break his point, Halep slammed his racket into the court in frustration. rice field. Haddad Maia, ranked 24th in the world, took a 4-0 lead and didn’t look back, angering the Brazilian fans. Oh beer! ”, I pushed through the third set.

“I don’t think Brazilians are used to screaming for tennis,” Haddad Maia said with a laugh. I think there are.”

And it created an atmosphere of oneness.

Halep regained control early in the third set and took advantage of the first break point opportunity to take a 2-0 lead with Haddad Maia’s long shot. In the final game of the match, Halep made the type of incredible shot that helped bring her here. Then she ripped the crosscourt winner apart, transitioning from defense to immediate offense, sending the crowd into yet another excitement for the eventual champion.

On Monday, Halep heads to Cincinnati for her next event. “So I’m going to practice. It’s going to be a celebration,” she said. “We don’t have time to celebrate.”

Well, maybe not for the woman who is the cause of the party, but there are definitely more than a few Romanians celebrating in her honor in and around Toronto. It will be the first victory for Halep, who has won two Canadian titles in the host city of Montreal.

“There are many Romanians here and they always support me,” she said. “I’m really happy to win here.”

Halep battles emotions, eats up raucous crowd to win National Bank Open title

Source link Halep battles emotions, eats up raucous crowd to win National Bank Open title

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