Simona Halep held off a resilient Beatriz Haddad Maia in Toronto on Sunday to win 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 and clinch her third Canadian Open crown. The triumph marked her 24th career title and a first at the WTA 1000 level since lifting the trophy in Rome in 2020.
Despite scattered displays of inconsistency and an uncharacteristic nine double faults, Halep managed to prevail in longer exchanges against the Brazilian southpaw. The World No. 15, as a result, is expected to rise to No. 6 in the WTA rankings on Monday.
Simona Halep previously enjoyed a seven-year-long stay inside the top 10 before injury woes disrupted her 2021 season. The Romanian revealed her goal at the start of the season of regaining her place amongst the best in the world. Having achieved that, she is now aiming for more.
"I feel like it's a big deal to be back in top 10," Halep said in her post-match press conference. "I'm really happy with this performance. When I started the year I was not very confident and I set the goal to be 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."
Simona Halep entered 2022 contemplating retirement after an injury-laden 2021 season. However, a week-long training session at Patrick Mouratoglou's academy rekindled her passion for tennis and she announced a coaching partnership with him soon after.
The former World No. 1 emphasized that the collaboration helped in reigniting her confidence in her potential.
"If he accepted to work with me means that he feels that I can play good tennis, in my opinion," Halep said of Mouratoglou, former coach of Serena Williams. "He was confident that I'm still able to win titles. He sees many things. It's really good to have a great connection with a coach because you can improve so much. If he feels you, it's much better to work on some things that are tough sometimes."
Halep went on to express her gratitude for the massive support she received from the crowd throughout the week.
"It's great to have such a big support because it's pushing you in tough moments," she said. "They were cheering for me every single point, even if I was down during the match. It's super important because you feel that you have so many people next to you, and you feel stronger a little bit."
"There's no time for celebration; I have another tournament to play" - Simona Halep
Simona Halep will head to Cincinnati this week to play her final tournament before the 2022 US Open, which begins on August 29. She has made three finals at the WTA 1000 event, but has failed to go all the way each time.
When asked during her presser about her plans to celebrate the victory in Toronto, the two-time Grand Slam champion revealed that she has little time for that.
"We're going to celebrate tomorrow on the court because I'm going to Cincinnati," Halep said. "So I'm going to practice. That will be the celebration. There's no time for celebration. That's what I mean. I have another tournament to play. I will try to recover as much as possible and to be ready for the next match."