Top-ranked Serena Williams stumbled in the Rogers Cup semifinals Saturday night in Toronto, losing 6-3, 5-7, 4-6 to Belinda Bencic.
The pair were neck and neck through the first two sets with each winning one on a tie-break but it was the Swiss who triumphed, after her opponent Halep was forced to retire hurt after receiving treatment for a leg injury, having previously complained about the heat.
Top seed, Serena Williams has admitted that she played like an amateur after she was beaten by an 18-year old Swiss, Belinda Bencic to reach Rogers Cup final in Toronto.
She won for the second time on the WTA Tour.
The 18-year-old Bencic backed up her stunning upset of world No. 1 Serena Williams grinding through scalding heat and scrappy second seeded Simona Halep to capture the second Premier championship of her career today.
And before that Bencic took out, in succession, rocket-serving Sabine Lisicki, fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki (another former No. 1) and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who had the hometown crowd on her side for the first-round match and was ranked as high as fifth late in 2014.
This was the first time Bencic was playing in a top-level final.
A stunned Belinda Bencic after scoring her biggest win and booking a spot in the biggest final of her career to date.
Halep advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Italy’s Sara Errani in 1hr 35min. “But I told myself today is my chance and I really have to stay focused and be mentally tough, even if I didn’t do it on the first try”.
Last weekend, Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic won the D.C. doubles title.
And at the end of this month, the American will attempt to become the first tennis player since Steffi Graf of Germany in 1988 to win the grand slam, all four of tennis’ grand slam tournaments (the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open) in one year.
But she looked sluggish and troubled throughout much of the semi-final, failing to run down balls in the open court and often turning in frustration towards the stands to speak with her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
But that’s when she pounced – Bencic began tightening the screws on her unforced errors and instead it was Williams who began making some uncharacteristic miscues.
Halep took another break before the third set and went back to the locker-room before returning with a hat on her head. I got really nervous, I think that’s nervous, everyone would.
“I don’t know why I continued to play”, Halep said.
“I can’t describe the feeling right now”, Bencic said.
“I didn’t play my best tennis but I played well enough to win the match”, Halep said.
“So I did this and I don’t know how I’m in the finals, to be honest”. As you would expect, the world number one was not happy with herself and broke her racquet, getting a code violation for racquet abuse.
Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis were ousted from the WTA event as the top seeds lost the semi-final 3-6, 2-6 to Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik.