Simona Halep on the rise with National Bank Open title in Toronto

Simona Halep defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia in the National Bank Open final to claim her 24th WTA title on Sunday.

The two-time grand slam winner battled back from a second-set slump to win 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 on the hard courts of Toronto under the Canadian summer sun.

The victory marked Halep's third in Canada, which is turning out to be a happy hunting ground for the Romanian. Speaking after the match, Halep heaped praise on her Haddad Maia, who knocked her out of the final four in the Birmingham Classic in June.

"It's never easy to play against [Haddad Maia]," said the 30-year-old, as per wtatennis.com.

"She beat me a few weeks ago. ... I knew that it was going to be a good challenge and a good fight. So it's been a battle today, and I'm really happy that I could actually be stronger in the important moments.

"It makes it even more special because I really wanted to win it in Toronto as well. Here there are many Romanians and they always come to support me. So I'm really happy that I could also win here."

It's been a challenging 18 months for Halep, who endured an injury-plagued 2021 season with a right shoulder issue, calf tear and an abductor niggle, resulting in her falling out of the top ten for the first time since 2014. Then at this year's French Open, Halep withdrew midway through her second-round match after suffering a panic attack.

But she persevered, bouncing back to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in July. Now, with a ninth career WTA 1000 victory under her belt, a resolute Halep breaks back into the top ten.

"I feel like it's a big deal to be back in the Top 10," continued the former world number one.

"When I started the year I was not very confident and I set the goal to be, at the end of the year, Top 10. And here I am. So it's a very special moment. I will enjoy it. I will give myself credit. I'm just dreaming for more."

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