Madison Keys is ready and willing to be a regular Top 10 resident and big title winner — it’s just that her fellow top players aren’t ready to let her.
A tired Simona Halep, who entered the Rogers Cup on a winning streak and reached both the singles and doubles finals in Montreal, summoned her scampering best to damper the power of Keys in a 7-6(2), 6-3 win in the Sunday final of the Canadian Open.
“I’m tired,” a smiling Halep told the media after capturing her third title of the year, and now on a 10-match winning streak.
“It was not my best tennis because I couldn’t play my best tennis. She was hitting very strong. As anyone knows, I cannot hit stronger than her because she’s very strong and it’s impossible for my height and for my body. I tried just to put the ball away from her, just to make her run. I think I did it pretty well, and she’d missed. It was really tough for me to make winners today because her ball was coming too hard.”
The first set saw Halep breaking serve and Keys breaking back, four times total, as they finally reached a tiebreak. Halep served for the match twice, feeling the pressure of the Keys return.
“I think I was very tight on my serve because I know she’s going to return very strong,” Halep said. “I don’t know, I wanted to make something big with the serve. I think it was too much pressure on me.”
Halep went on to win the tiebreak 7-2, then broke early in the second set to ride out the win.
“I like being here in Montreal a lot,” said the emotional Halep, who in multiple matches was saved by the WTA on-court coaching rule when her coach Darren Cahill came on court to save what would likely have been potential earlier exits in the tournament as Halep appeared directionless. “It feels like being in Europe, like I’ve said many times. With all the Romanians, I felt like I was at home. Many people were coming every day, not just today. It was an amazing atmosphere down there.”
Keys will return to the Top 10 at No. 9 on the WTA Rankings. She fell to 2-3 in career finals, and 1-2 this year after winning Birmingham and falling in finals at Rome and now Montreal.
“There’s only one person who is going to walk away and be completely happy with this week,” the American said. “I’m obviously not going to say it’s a bad week just because I lost one match. I think I played really a pretty good tournament. I wish today went a little bit differently. Sometimes it happens. Just take the positives from that and move on.”
Halep, who began the year at No. 2, rises to No. 3 on the WTA rankings.
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