Haddad Maia stops Riske at Nottingham for maiden title
26-year-old Beatriz Haddad Maia claimed her maiden title and became the first Brazilian titlist on grass in over 50 years on Sunday in Nottingham.
Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia could hear the chants of her compatriots on Sunday in Nottingham, and the Brazilian contingent grew louder and louder as the 26-year-old marched to her first WTA title, completing her run with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 triumph over American Alison Riske.
“It was just amazing,” Haddad Maia said after the final. “I never expected I could have a lot of crowd and people here cheering for me – thanks a lot for making this special for me.”
Haddad Maia took her place in the final as the first woman from her country to play a final on grass since the legendary Maria Bueno in 1968. She is the first woman from her country to claim a trophy on grass in 54 years.
It was just her tenth career match on grass. She was able to make up for any lack of experience with hard work, as she found her form in the third set, rallying from a break down early to win five of the final seven games.
Haddad Maia was able to break twice in the final set despite the fact that Riske made 81 percent of her first serves. She won four of five second-serve return points and made them count.
“She’s a very good player, she competes ever single point, doesn’t matter what,” Haddad Maia said of Riske. “She was improving her game so I was trying to push and keep concentrating. Tennis is like that. … Today I was starting to miss, I wasn’t too aggressive, so I’m very happy that I was fighting with myself, and that I could get this trophy.”
The Brazilian is poised to rise from 48 in the rankings to a career-high of 32 on Monday.
Riske falls to 3-10 lifetime in WTA finals with the loss, including 0-2 in title matches at Nottingham. The world No 40 is 13-5 lifetime at the 250-level grass-court event.