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Surging Haddad Maia fires past Pliskova to set final with Halep in Toronto

Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 7-6 (7) on Saturday night and will face Romanian Simona Halep, the No 15 seed, for the title

Beatriz Haddad Maia 2022 Toronto Beatriz Haddad Maia celebrates another victory in Toronto || AI / Reuters

The good times keep rolling for Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia. The surging southpaw defeated Czech Karolina Pliskova, the No 14 seed, 6-4, 7-6 (7) in a tight tussle to advance to her biggest career final at the National Bank Open at the Aviva Centre in Toronto on Saturday night.

Haddad Maia, ranked No 24, will play Romanian Simona Halep, the No 15 seed, next. The 24-year-old is the first Brasilian to reach the final in Canada, and she will rise to No 16 in the rankings as a result of reaching her third final of 2022. If she defeats Halep for the title on Sunday, Haddad Maia will rise to No 14 in Monday’s WTA rankings.

“I think the ranking and results show what me and my team are doing in the last years,” she said. “We work very hard every day so I’m very happy and proud of them as well because I’m not alone. I play here alone on the court but there are a lot of people who help me to be at this ranking, so just shows that we are in the right way.”

Working hard and getting results

Haddad Maia has spent more time on the singles court than any other player in Toronto. Through five matches she has now spent 10:57, but it does not seem to faze her.

“I play here alone on the court but there are a lot of people who help me to be at this ranking, so just shows that we are in the right way.”

— Beatriz Haddad Maia

“It’s very tough to play against Karolina,” Haddad Maia told the crowd after her victory. “She’s a very aggressive player so sometimes even if you are playing well she makes very good shots, so I was trying to be patient and humble, to accept the moment – I tried to work hard.

“I learned a lot watching her playing so it’s very nice to play against her and push myself against her, and I’m very happy that I could defend a little bit and enjoy tonight.”

Haddad Maia improves to 26-13 on the season, while Pliskova drops to 14-13. The Czech hit nine aces in the well-played contest, and had a 3-0 lead in the second set that she could not hold. The former world No 1 also had a set point in the second-set tiebreak but could not convert.

Haddad Maia surging vs the top-20 – and top-5!

Haddad Maia has turned a corner against elite competition. Since Miami she has won all seven of her matches against the top-20 – prior to that her record against such competition was 3-12. She is also 3-0 vs the top-5 in that span, with wins over No 3 Sakkari in Miami, No 5 Sakkari in Nottingham and No 1 Swiatek in Toronto.

Halep v Haddad Maia head to head

Halep has won two of three previous meetings with Haddad Maia, including a victory in their only hard court meeting at this year’s Australian Open (6-2, 6-0). Haddad Maia took their last meeting on the grass in Birmingham (6-3, 2-6, 6-4) en route to her second title of 2022.

Toronto WTA 1000, other semi-final result (Aviva Centre, hard, USD 2.527.250):

  • Simona Halep beat Jessica Pegula (7): 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
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