Belinda Bencic looks to win her second WTA title in Toronto when she faces Simona Halep tonight. The Swiss youngster made it three years running that an unseeded player made the final after Venus Williams and Sorana Cirstea did so in 2014 and 2013 respectively.
Bencic will be hoping to do better than the pair who didn’t win a set between them and is a definite threat to win if she can repeat the performance she put in against Serena Williams. The World No.1 had lost just one match all season and it looked like she would move to 44-1 after taking the first set 6-3.
Bencic fought back to earn set point but after double faulting and eventually getting broken. Having recovered from 0-40 in the following service game at 5-5, she took the set and took the momentum into the decider, going 4-0 and 5-1 up. Serena was forced into action and looked like she would win after getting the match on serve but Bencic was fearless in the final game, breaking to 30 to pick up the best win of her career. It caps a very tough run to the final that included Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki, Sabine Lisicki and Ana Ivanovic.
Halep’s run to the final was no cakewalk either with the in-form Angelique Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani defeated on her way to the final. Halep is now 27-2 on hard courts this year with losses to Serena Williams, and Ekaterina Makarova. The Romanian will boosted by her home contingent in the crowd once more who have been very vocal throughout the week.
Unlike many of the prospects in recent years, Bencic’s rise has been gradual with the 18 year old suffering a number of disappointing losses alongside her impressive weeks. However, the grass season seems to have been what was needed for Bencic who has been on a cracking run since it began. Toronto marks her third final after ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Eastbourne, the latter of which she had won.
It would be fair to assume that Bencic might not have enough in the tank to defeat a reasonably well-rested Halep but in the form she is in, it wouldn’t be a shock to see this supremely talented prospect cap a dream week off in style with another top 10 win. She moved into the top 15 with victory and a title would put her in the top 12, which could aid her in getting a kinder US Open draw should it hold until then.
Prediction – Simona Halep in three sets