Bia makes semi-historic in Canada and reaches the top 20

Bia the first Brazilian in a WTA 1000 semifinal and be among the 20 best in the world

Photo: National Bank Open

Toronto (Canada) – Beatriz Haddad Maia’s great week at the WTA 1000 in Toronto gained another chapter this Friday. After three victories at the beginning of the tournament, one of them against world number 1 Iga Swiatek in the round of 16, Bia surpassed Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, 12th in the ranking and current Olympic champion, by 2/6, 6/3 and 6/3 in 2:09 am departure.

In addition to having been first Brazilian to win a leader in the ranking, Bia also becomes the first tennis player in the country to reach the semifinals of a tournament of this magnitude. She is waiting for the winner between Czech Karolina Pliskova, ranked 14th, and 19-year-old Chinese girl Qinwen Zheng, ranked 51st. Bia has a win and a loss against Pliskova and has yet to face Zheng at the circuit.

The great campaign up to the semifinals in Toronto will have a direct impact on the rankings. Bia started the week as 24th in the world and entered the top 20, gaining at least four more positions. She receives 350 points for four tournament victories. If she reaches the final she will score 585 points, with a possibility of 900 in case of a title, which could take her to 14th place. In the run-up to the Finals, the 26-year-old from São Paulo is climbing from 20th to 17th place.

Bencic was superior in the first set. Although Bia had two good service games at the beginning of the match, counting on the left-handed open serve at important moments, the Brazilian put only 57% of first services on the court and suffered too much when she depended on the second serve. She scored just one point in the nine played in these conditions.

In one of the breaks, Bencic just blocked Bia’s serve and knew how to exploit a climb to the net after the point. Switzerland would break again in the final stretch of the set. Still not finding the ideal time in the returns, Bia had no break-points in the partial and made only six points lost in the rival’s serve games. Bencic led the winners by 8 to 5 and made only 5 mistakes against 7 of the Brazilian.

The second set was much better for Bia, who managed to be more aggressive and to have more control of the points from the back of the court. She was also more comfortable executing service returns and began to pressure Bencic’s serve more often. The break came early and Bia opened 3/1. The Brazilian escaped the only break-point she faced in the partial to make 4/2 and would break again in the last game of the partial, after the Swiss made a mistake with her forehand. Bencic, by the way, made 17 unforced errors in the set against only 8 for Bia. In winners, Switzerland led by 9 to 5.

At the start of the third set, Bencic complained about the behavior of Brazilian fans in the stadium, who were celebrating double fouls. The Swiss started with 2/0 on the scoreboard, with success in attempts to use the backhand in parallel.

But Bia was very mentally strong in the third set, even in some of the longer games in her service. She escaped two break-points to make 4/3 and soon after broke Bencic’s serve with an excellent build from the back point to define with the forehand. Serving for the game, Bia kept her focus and achieved another very expressive victory in her career. Bencic made more winners in the game, 26 aa 17, but made 37 mistakes against 18 for the Brazilian.

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