SWISS teen Belinda Bencic outlasted Simona Halep to win Sunday’s WTA Rogers Cup final, when the Romanian second seed retired trailing 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (4/7), 3-0.
Bencic, who upset world number one Serena Williams in the semi-finals, broke twice to open the third set before the effort of battling in extreme heat and humidity proved more than Halep could take.
The Swiss 18-year-old has won 21 of her last 25 matches and defeated four top-10 foes this week, improving to 6-1 this year, against such high-ranked rivals.
“I don’t think I’m so good at speeches yet,” Bencic said. “But first I want to congratulate Simona on a great week, and my mom, my dad and my team.
“Even if I lost today it would’ve been an amazing experience.”
It was the second career WTA crown for Bencic, whose first came in June at Eastbourne, and it capped an impressive week in which she defeated six Grand Slam finalists — Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki, Sabine Lisicki, Ana Ivanovic, Halep and Williams, winner of the past four Grand Slam events in a row.
Bncic will jump to 12th in the world rankings after starting the week 20th, improving her position for the US Open, the year’s final Grand Slam event that starts August 31 in New York.
Halep and Bencic exchanged breaks over the first five games of the match before Bencic held for a 4-2 edge.
The 18-year-old double faulted to surrender an equalising break in the eighth game as the two battled into the tie-breaker.
Halep, who had her left leg treated in the final changeover before the tie-breaker, seized a 4-1 lead but Bencic fought back to win six of the last seven points to claim the first set, the last when Halep netted a forehand.