TORONTO – No. 24 Beatriz Haddad Maia continued her remarkable form over the past two months to defeat world No. 1 Iga Swiatek 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the round of 16 at the National Bank Open. The win was the 26-year-old’s first against a world No. 1 and she became the first Brazilian woman to advance to the quarter-finals of a WTA 1000 tournament.
Since early June, only Caroline Garcia has won more matches than Haddad Maia, who now has 15 wins. Consecutive champion on grass in Nottingham and Birmingham, the Brazilian arrived in Toronto at the 24th rank, a career high. Her form through the first two rounds was solid, counting wins over French Open semi-finalist Martina Trevisan and US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.
“I had a lot of tough times in my career,” Haddad Maia said. “I’ve already had four operations and I’m only 26. So when I have special moments, I try to take advantage. Because sometimes we think, Oh, no, I’m not that happy. I’m not, I don’t think about winning.
“But the truth is that I’ve been working for about 15 years to live this moment, to live this dream that I’ve worked so hard on.”
How the match was won: In windy conditions that Simona Halep described as “impossible”, Haddad Maia was the most stable player in the first set. As Swiatek struggled to generate a single break point on the Brazilian’s serve, Haddad Maia constantly pressured the world No.1. Swiatek played 40 points on his serve in the first set against 25 for Haddad Maia. An early break for Haddad Maia was all she needed to methodically work her way through the first set.
“I think at first I struggled to find my rhythm on the pitch,” Swiatek said. “Probably because she’s left-handed and I had a hard time adapting to her serve. Plus the wind. I think without the wind I’d be fine. But it was pretty crazy there- down.”
Haddad Maia continued his comeback pressure early in the second set. In the longest game of the match, Swiatek faced five break points in the opener to hold 15-40. Once again the set would be decided by a single break. Swiatek eventually broke through Haddad Maia’s serve to take a 4-2 lead and closed it from there.
The third remained a tight affair. Swiatek got the early break at 1-0 but Haddad Maia broke twice for a 4-2 lead. Serving at 4-3, Haddad Maia was again broken to level the game.
Ultimately, Haddad Maia’s continued back pressure would decide the game. She generated 19 break point chances in the match against Swiatek’s nine. As Swiatek valiantly saved 15 break points, the cumulative pressure finally paid off. As Swiatek served at 5-6 to force a tiebreaker, Haddad Maia pounced on the Pole’s second serve to earn more match points at 15-40. Haddad Maia converted his fourth match point to close the three-hour game and the biggest win of his career.
Match statistics: Haddad Maia committed just 12 unforced errors in the long game, an impressive number in calm conditions not to mention the swirling conditions she faced against Swiatek. Haddad Maia also hit 23 winners. Swiatek finished the match with 33 winners for 28 unforced errors.
Haddad Maia’s mental strength: “I knew I had to play my best tennis,” Haddad Maia said. “And also, she could beat me, even though I was playing well. So I was trying to play every point without excuses. I was trying to forget what I had done wrong, the mistakes, and go for it. I was just trying to live in the present, play point by point.
“The weather that we don’t control, we can’t control. So it’s not something that I can handle. So I have to deal with it. And, yeah, I think I did a good mental job. .”