Photo : Peter Power/Tennis Canada
It all comes down to this: Simona Halep against Beatriz Haddad Maia for all the marbles in Toronto.
The pair will meet for the fourth time on Sunday with the National Bank Open title on the line.
Halep will be looking to make history, while Haddad Maia is looking for the biggest title of her career to cap off a stunning week.
Here’s what you need to know about the women’s singles final at the National Bank Open
How They Got Here
Halep has looked like her old self this week in Toronto after a poor 2021 and start to 2022. She did not drop a set on her way to the semifinals, beating Donna Vekic, Shuai Zheng, Jil Teichmann, and No. 10 seed Coco Gauff all in straight sets.
It seemed like her form had abandoned her to start the semifinal against Jessica Pegula, as Halep sprayed shots all over the place and struggled with her serve, dropping the first set. But as she so often does, the Romanian dug in and was able to grit out a three-set win.
Sunday’s final will be Halep’s fourth in Canada and second in Toronto. Both of her titles came in Montreal, in 2016 (d. Keys) and 2018 (d. Stephens). Her lone Toronto final came back in 2015, when she retired down 3-0 in the third set after splitting tiebreaks with Belinda Bencic.
With a win, Halep would become the only active singles player on the WTA Tour, and the first woman in the 21st century, to win titles in both Toronto and Montreal.
Haddad Maia has been on a giant killer run for the ages to reach her first WTA 1000 quarter-final, semifinal and final all at the same event.
She has beaten seeded opponents in four consecutive matches. She opened the tournament with a three-set win over Roland-Garros semifinalist Martina Trevisan and followed it up with wins over No. 13 Leylah Fernandez, No. 1 Iga Świątek, No. 12 Belinda Bencic and No. 14 Karolina Pliskova to reach the final.
The victory over Świątek was particularly impressive, as she overcame windy conditions that wreaked havoc with the world No. 1’s game, ending the Pole’s 20-match and 26-set winning streaks on hard courts.
Coming into Toronto, Haddad Maia had never made it past the second round of a WTA 1000 event and had only ever won one match at that level.
Halep leads the head-to-head with Haddad Maia 2-1, including their lone match on hard courts earlier this season in the second round of the Australian Open 6-2, 6-0. Two of their three meetings have come on grass, including their most recent meeting in Birmingham in June, which Haddad Maia won on her way to the title. They’ve met twice in 2022.
From an experience perspective, Halep and Haddad Maia are a major mismatch. The Romanian will be competing in her 18th WTA 1000 final, while Haddad Maia will be competing in her first, and only her third final overall. Halep has won the same number of titles and reached the same number of finals in Canada alone.
The final takes on Sunday, Aug. 14 at Sobeys Stadium. Play begins at 1:30 pm.