The match itself won’t go on any “Match of the Year” lists, but Simona Halep managed to play less bad than Madison Keys to win her first Rogers Cup.
Halep steadied herself and pulled away in the second set by playing cleaner, safer, more consistent tennis, but the abysmal first set in Halep’s 7-6 (2), 6-3 win can be summarized with these gruesome numbers:
- Halep won the set with just one winner and 15 unforced errors.
- Keys had 27 unforced errors
- Keys had seven of those errors in the tiebreak, meaning every Halep point came via a Keys error.
Keys briefly found a bit of form in the second, but overall it was Halep reacting better to the situation and taking advantage of an opponent who struggled to keep the ball in play off either wing from just about any spot on the court.
The win is a nice bit of redemption for Halep, who had to retire in last year’s final (played in Toronto) against Belinda Bencic. The WTA’s top non-Grand Slams are murkier than the ATP’s, but Halep has now won four of the nine Premier Mandatory/Premier 5s, adding Canada to Indian Wells, Madrid (won this year) and Doha/Dubai (of which, she has won both).
Though she is still looking for her first Grand Slam final since the 2014 French Open, the 24 year old becomes just the sixth woman to win five Mandatory/5s since the new system was implemented in 2009 (Williams 12, Azarenka 9, Sharapova 8, Kvitova/Wozniacki 5). Considering the state of the careers of the players after Serena Williams, it’s feasible Halep could be second on the list in a couple years.
Halep, who will climb back to third in the world briefly, can also pull off the rare double dip at a top tournament, as she plays the doubles final with fellow Romanian Monica Niculescu later in the day (Note: they fell to the experienced team of Makarova/Vesnina).