Simona Halep and Pablo Carreno Busta shine in Canada
After a week of scintillating tennis, it is a wrap for the National Bank Open in Toronto and Montreal.
The tournament, played in two parts of Canada – the WTA in Toronto and the ATP in Montreal – produced some shocking results leading up to the final, but the singles winners are no doubt worthy champions.
In Toronto, two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep battled hard to defeat an in-form Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in what was a rollercoaster, nerve-racking match.
Haddad Maia came into the final in the form of her life and high on confidence, especially after upsetting World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the round of 16. The Brazilian had won seven consecutive matches against top 20 players and was looking to continue that impressive streak with a win over Halep.
The match started with Haddad Maia racing to a 3-0 lead as Halep struggled on serve, hitting four baffling double faults in her opening service game.
Halep however turned the match on its head by winning six consecutive games to take the first set 6-3.
In the second set, Haddad Maia again pulled away with a 4-0 advantage, but did not let the lead slip that time. With Halep still somewhat shaky on serve, the Brazilian took advantage with her deep hitting, grabbing the set 6-2 and sending the match into a not-so-surprising deciding set.
The third set saw Halep breaking for a 2-0 lead but Haddad Maia, still fighting, broke right back to get on the board. Halep, giving it everything, got the break again and eventually closed out the match 6-3 in the third set to claim her 24th WTA title, her third in Canada.
With this victory, Halep from No.15, makes her way back into the world’s top 10 for the first time since August 2021.
Toronto was quite underwhelming for many big names but Halep, who has been one of the most consistent women on tour in the last decade, rose to the occasion.
World No.1 Iga Swiatek, fell to Haddad Maia in the round of 16, No.2 Anett Kontaveit played just one match and lost to Jil Teichmann, while Maria Sakkari, Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur all failed to reach the round of 16.
Of all the women in the top 10, only No.7 Jessica Pegula made it to the semifinals where she lost to Halep.
In Montreal, where there were many surprises on the men’s side as well, Pablo Carreno Busta emerged victorious over Hubert Hurkacz for his very first Masters 1000 title.
The Spaniard, who had never reached a Masters 1000 final before this tournament, was probably one of the most unlikely champions but pulled off a spectacular week, causing some upsets on the way.
Carreno Busta’s impressive route to the title:
First round: Matteo Berrettini (6-3, 6-2)
Second round: Holger Rune (6-0, 6-3)
Round of 16: Jannik Sinner (6-2, 6-4)
Quarterfinals: Jack Draper (7-6, 6-1)
Semifinals: Dan Evans (7-5, 6-7, 6-2)
Final: Hubert Hurkacz: (3-6, 6-3, 6-3)
Going into the final, Hurkacz was the obvious favorite. The Pole is ranked higher and had never lost in a final, winning all five finals he had played.
After taking the first set 6-3, it seemed like business as usual for the World No.10 but Carreno Busta responded positively, attacking and defending beautifully to take the next two sets, sealing the victory after one hour and 45 minutes.
This makes Carreno Busta the first unseeded champion of the tournament since Guillermo Canas in 2002. The Spaniard now rises nine places in the rankings from 23rd to 14th.
Like the women’s tournament, Montreal was a downer for the supposed favorites.
Top seed Daniil Medvedev was faced with a difficult draw and lost in the second round at the hands of Nick Kyrgios.
World No.4 Carlos Alcaraz was sent packing by Tommy Paul in his first match of the event. Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas lost his first match to British rising star Jack Draper, while fifth seed Andrey Rublev also had a disappointing outing, losing to Dan Evans in the second round.
Fourth seed Casper Ruud had a decent run before his defeat by eventual champion Hurkacz.
A Masters 1000 tournament is usually expected to be dominated by the world’s best but it was definitely not the case this time.
Players however have a chance to redeem themselves as action moves to another 1000 event in Cincinnati.
The US Open beckons and this week will be decisive for everyone concerned.
Of course, Betking has you covered as regards the best tennis odds for this week in Cincinnati and more.