Brilliant Belinda Bencic Triumphs in Toronto
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
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Belinda Bencic completed a dream run by defeating Simona Halep to claim the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
The 18-year-old, who had already knocked out Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic, triumphed 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 3-0 in the scorching conditions to claim her second career title.
Bencic had already made a name for herself as one of the tours brightest prospects, but her status has certainly risen after an incredible week. First Eugenie Bouchard was the victim, then Wozniacki, Sabine Lisicki, Ivanovic and world number one Serena before Halep in Sunday’s final- undoubtedly one of the greatest runs to a Premier title.
The Swiss battled with the Romanian for two and a half hour as the pair exchanged tie-break sets. Eventually the heat became too much for the second seed as she was forced to retire due to illness three games in to the final set.
“I don’t think I’m so good at speeches yet!” Bencic said post match. “But first I want to congratulate Simona on a great week, and my mom, my dad and my team. And my fitness coach – I really needed my fitness today! And also Melanie Molitor, my coach – a big thank you to you too.
“And of course a big thank you to all the crowd. You were amazing in every match this week. It’s just been such a special tournament, and I’ll never forget it – I can’t wait to come back next year.”
Bencic now has two WTA titles, having won the Eastbourne title in June. This is her first at Premier 5 level, making the 18 year old the first teenager to win a title at this level since Victoria Azarenka in Miami six years ago.
To add to the success of winning a title, Bencic will move up to 12 in the world rankings putting her contention for a top 16 seeding for the US Open where she will defend semi-final points. She is also 12th in the race rankings putting herself in contention for the season ending championships in Singapore.
Both finalists will head to Cincinnati for the second Premier level event in as many weeks. Halep apologised for being unable to finish the match.
“Sorry I couldn’t finish, I fought as hard as I could. Thanks to all the fans for the support” Halep said.
The doubles title went to Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek Sands. The third seeded pair have continued their great year by defeating fourth seeds Katerina Srebotnik and Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-2.