Halep of Romania also won the title in 2016 and 2018 when it was called Rogers Cup. It is the 24th title of Halep’s career and the first since joining Patrick Mouratoglou as manager.
26-year-old Brazilian Haddad Maia has never won a tennis tournament at this level but has rocketed up the WTA Tour rankings this year.
A year ago, Haddad Maia was ranked 183 in the world, but this week he competed in tournament No. 24 and will crack the top 20 next week.
Halep fell 3-0 behind Haddad Maia in the opening set and started yelling at himself. Some Brazilian fans – many of them in yellow national jerseys – started shouting “Bee-ah! Bee-ah!” to chant. to cheer on Haddad-Maia, but they were soon overwhelmed by shouts of “See-moh-nah! See-moh-nah!” from the Romanian fans.
The singing seemed to rouse Halep. A deep forehand return to set point just out of reach of Haddad Maia’s extended racquet sealed six straight games for Halep as she came back to win the opener.
Haddad Maia seemed to shrug off that stunning comeback to start the second set, quickly winning the opening two games and fending off Halep in two more for a 4-0 lead.
Despite Halep winning back a game to slightly slow down Haddad Maia and put him at 4-1, the younger Brazilian immediately regained that momentum to go 5-1.
Halep claimed one more game before Haddad served Maia for the second set. Haddad Maia popped out to a 40-15 advantage and then her serve handcuffed Halep to win the set and force a crucial third and final set.
For the first time in the match, Halep opened a set with a game winner and went 2-0 up when Haddad Maia’s return went down her forehand. Later, an overhand strike from Halep at the net completed their own flawless game for a 5-2 lead.
Haddad Maia stayed in the match and won another game. She made it 5-3 when her high backhand volley collapsed for a point.
With a 40-15 lead in the ninth game of the third set, Halep claimed her first Toronto title as Haddad Maia netted her return.