Photo : Peter Power/Tennis Canada
By Max Gao
In the biggest upset of the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers, World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Iga Świątek fell in three sets to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Thursday afternoon.
Having now beat Świątek and Canada’s Leylah Fernandez en route to the quarterfinal, the 24th-ranked Haddad Maia will face the winner of the match between 2015 champion and No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic and No. 8 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, who will face off in the night session.
In her first meeting with Świątek, Haddad Maia, a two-time winner on the Hologic WTA Tour this year, showed little signs of nerves against the World No. 1, claiming a decisive break in the fifth game of the opening set. The Brazilian left-hander served extremely well, dropping a total of just five points in her service games in the set and using her big forehand to put Świątek on the defensive.
Struggling to find her range on her groundstrokes, the World No. 1 found herself in danger of falling down an early break in the second, but she saved five break points in a marathon nine-deuce game before holding serve.
Świątek earned her first break points of the match in the fourth game, and while she wasn’t able to take them, her resistance was ultimately rewarded in the sixth game, when she converted her third opportunity of the game. From there, she was able to use that break to serve out the set and force a final set.
In the thrilling decider, Świątek earned a break in the first game before Haddad Maia, using her forehand to once again draw errors from an uncharacteristically erratic Świątek, immediately broke back and reeled off four of the next five games to lead 4-2.
Świątek responded by breaking straight back, but she found herself under pressure in her own service games for the rest of the match. She saved a match point while serving to stay in it at 4-5, but Haddad Maia continued to attack her second serve and was ultimately rewarded with a total of three match points a couple of games later. While she tightened up on her next two opportunities, Haddad Maia converted her fourth match point when Świątek’s forehand sailed wide, allowing her to claim her third Top 10 win of the season and the biggest win of her career.
Earlier in the day, No. 15 seed and two-time champion Simona Halep advanced to her sixth quarterfinal at the National Bank Open, holding off Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann, 6-2, 7-5, in an hour and 30 minutes. The Romanian superstar, who also reached the final in Toronto in 2015, will now face No. 10 seed Coco Gauff, who edged out No. 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka in a third-set tiebreak on the National Bank Grandstand Court.
A day after surviving an early test against China’s Zhang Shuai, Halep raced out of the blocks against Teichmann, who had recorded victories over former World No. 1 Venus Williams and current World No. 2 Anett Kontaveit to start her week in Toronto.
Halep earned an early double-break advantage to lead 3-0, and while she surrendered one of those breaks, she later broke once more before serving out the set in half an hour.
The second set, by contrast, was a much tighter affair, with Teichmann saving a break point in each of her first two service games to force Halep to play catch-up for most of the set. The pair exchanged holds of serve until the 11th game, when Halep converted her third break point of the game to clinch a decisive break. The former World No. 1 braved the windy conditions and came out on top in the most important moments to serve out the match in straight sets, much to the delight of the bevy of Romanian fans who once again turned out in droves.
Halep and Gauff are set to square off for the fourth time. The Romanian has won their first three meetings without dropping a set, including their two meetings earlier this year in Indian Wells and Madrid.