Bia beats Halep and tries 2nd straight title on grass

Birmingham (England) – Beatriz Haddad Maia remains unbeatable on English grass. Nottingham champion in singles and doubles for a week, the 26-year-old left-hander achieved another feat by beating Romanian Simona Halep, former world number 1 and 2019 Wimbledon champion. and 6/4. in a postponed semifinal from Saturday and will compete today for the WTA 250 Birmingham title.

Her opponent in the decision will be the Chinese Shuai Zhang, who surpassed the also Romanian Sorana Cirstea by 4/6, 6/1 and 7/6 (7-5). The paulistana won the only one against the Chinese, in Miami in 2018. Zhang was Bia’s partnership in last Sunday’s doubles title.

This was the Brazilian’s eighth consecutive victory on grass and the sixth in her career over a top 20 opponent, three of them this season, including the two over the Greek Maria Sakkarim, then 3rd and 5th.

With the new final, Bia secured the 30th place in the ranking, the second highest that a Brazilian woman has obtained since the creation of the system, in 1975, being very close to the 29th place of Maria Esther Bueno.

Bia also becomes the second Brazilian player of all time to play two top-tier finals on grass in a row. The last to achieve this feat was Maria Esther, champion at Eastbourne and Manchester and runner-up at Chestnut Hill between July and August 1968.

turn and slips
Defeated by Halep in the two previous clashes, the first at Wimbledon in 2017 and the other in Melbourne this year, Bia entered determined to take care of the points. She pushed from the beginning of the match, but after good points she ended up failing and allowing her to break. Halep jumped to 2/0, but the Brazilian found herself and managed to be aggressive in the face of the Romanian’s second blunt serve. Two more breaks followed, in an unstable moment for the servers, until Bia steadied herself and made 4/3.

Halep had already suffered a first slip at the back of the court and a second misstep seemed to take some of his confidence and mobility. Bia maintained the pattern, remained aggressive and switched directions whenever possible. She took advantage of the second break point to open 5/3 and closed with great authority.

Number 20 immediately asked for medical attention for her ankle, but confirmed the first serve of the second set without scare and appeared to regain her concentration. Bia also served well twice, but faltered in the sixth game and was broken after a double fault and a big pass by Halep.

tense third set
The Romanian had gained confidence once and for all and tried not to risk the first serve so much so as not to be at the mercy of aggressive returns. Very firm on the base, she managed to break to 3/1, but Bia reacted immediately with a spectacular game in which she managed to exchange directions with great depth the entire time. He equalized then and still got the comeback, taking the serve from the Romanian with a lot of determination in the returns.

With the serve, however, she lacked a better first-serve index, which allowed Halep to enter every point and always attack the Brazilian’s backhand. New break and tie. Bia didn’t lower her head and made great quality shots in the ninth game, getting the break on the second attempt after a point in which she attacked always and from all sides. The final game was no less tense, with long exchanges, a lot of ball close to the line until Bia took advantage of the second match-point

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