Swiss teen Belinda Bencic outlasts Halep to win Rogers Cup
Updated: 2015-08-17 09:02
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland holds up the Rogers Cup trophy after winning the finals match against Simona Halep of Romania (not pictured) after Halep retired from the match in the third set during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at the Aviva Centre. [Photo/Agencies]
TORONTO - The 18-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland capped off her Rogers Cup debut with a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 3-0 victory over No. 2 seed Simona Halep of Romania on Sunday afternoon in Toronto.
After two long sets that lasted over an hour each, Halep was forced to retire in the third set due to a left leg injury and heat exhaustion.
"Today it was so tough and very hot conditions. It was for sure very hard today for both players," said Bencic of the 50-degree Celsius temperature on the court. "We both were fighting so hard. We had long rallies, so it was obvious that we were very exhausted."
The victory is Bencic's first premier-five level title and second WTA title. She also earns her 456,000-U.S.-dollar first place prize, her biggest payday of her professional career.
The path to the championship was not easy, for the unseeded Bencic, who took down six Grand Slam finalists during the tournament.
She began the tournament by eliminating Eugenie Bouchard (2014 Wimbledon finalist) in the first round and Caroline Wozniacki (2009 an 2014 U.S. Open finalist) in the second round.
Bencic then proceeded to eliminate German Sabine Lisicki (2013 Wimbledon finalist) and Ana Ivanovic (2007 French Open and 2008 Australian Open finalist) to reach the semi-finals round.
She stunned world No. 1 and 21-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams in the semis before beating Halep (2014 French Open finalist) to clinch in the title.
"I didn't know before that I beat like six Grand Slam finalists in a row. It's amazing," said Bencic. "I have no words for this, and definitely talk about a tough draw."
The victory makes Bencic the fourth player in Rogers Cup history to win in their debut and fourth player without a seed.
The tournament victory also continues her impressive streak of 21-3 since losing in the French Open two months prior, including two wins and one runner-up finish.
Currently ranked No. 20 in WTA rankings, Bencic will ascend to No. 12 after the 900 points earned in Toronto, her highest ranking to date.
"12? No way. Wow. I didn't know it," said Bencic in amazement upon learning of her new ranking. "That's pretty impressive. I cannot believe it."
The youngster is still amazed at her journey since the start of 2014 when she was ranked No. 186 before finishing the year at No. 33.
Bencic hopes to continue her success and move into the top 10 before the U.S. Open in September.
In men's tournament in Montreal, No. 2 seed Andy Murray defeated top seed Novak Djokovic in a thrilling 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 match that lasted over three hours.
Murray, by holding up his third Rogers Cup, denied Djokovic of his fourth title and also snapped an eight-match losing streak to the Serb, dating back to the 2013 Wimbledon finals.