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Photograph: Getty Images

Halep Makes Top 10 Return

Simona Halep has roared back into the world’s top 10 after taking out the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto over Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Halep lifted her third National Bank Open courtesy of a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory over the Brazilian in two hours and 16 minutes of quality tennis.

The match was a hotly contested affair, with both players getting plenty of looks in on each other's serve throughout.

Haddad Maia came out of the blocks firing and won the opening three games of the first set before Halep fought back to claim the next six in a row. The second set started off in similar fashion, with the Brazilian racing out to a 4-0 lead before squaring the contest at a set all.

Halep was able to flip the script in the final set by getting off to a good start. The dual major winner skipped out to a 4-1 lead and was eventually able to hold on for her second title of the year.

The title in Toronto is due reward for what’s been an outstanding season so far for Halep who has 38 match wins, second only to Iga Swiatek’s 49.

The victory also saw Halep put a stop to Haddad Maia’s incredible run in the tournament, with the Brazilian taking out Roland Garros Semi-finalist Martina Trevisan, Leylah Fernandez, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova to reach her first WTA 1000 final.

As a result of her run, Haddad Maia will make the leap inside the WTA’s top 20 for the first time in her career.

In the doubles, Australian Ellen Perez and her American partner Nicole Melichar fell agonisingly short of the title in Toronto.

The duo were defeated 4-6, 7-6(5), 5-10 in the final by Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff who are both entrenched inside the world’s top 20 in both singles and doubles.

It’s an astonishing breakthrough for 18-year-old Gauff, who now becomes the World No. 1 doubles player.

The Perez-Melichar combination is in its early days but it looks as though it’ll be a fruitful one if their form is anything to go by. The pair are only in their seventh tournament together but have already made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and now the final of a WTA 1000 level event - a significant breakthrough for Perez - the first WTA 1000 final she has reached in her career.

Photograph: WTA

Vandeweghe Ends Pera’s Streak

In one of the better stories of 2022, former top 10 player Coco Vandeweghe won her first tournament in six years at the Thoreau Tennis Open in Concord, USA.

The wildcard capped off a great week by defeating the in-form Bernarda Pera 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a battle lasting two and a half hours.

Vandeweghe had only dropped one set en route to the final against top seed Clara Tauson before coming up against the vastly improved Pera. Leading into the final, Pera had won two titles in a row and 16 matches on the trot.

The win is all the more special for the 30-year-old given her horrible run with injury and illness over the past four years.

In January, The First Serve spoke with Vandeweghe at an ITF event in Bendigo where she claimed she finally felt healthy and had her sights set on a return to the top 100 in the world.

With her victory in Concord, Vandeweghe is set to climb back into the world’s top 130 as she nears closer to her goal ahead of the American swing.


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