(June 19, 2022) Beatriz Haddad Maia won her second grass-court tournament in a row after a busy day at the LTA’s Rothesay Classic Birmingham.
Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian ever to win a singles title on the surface last week in Nottingham and now she has won two grass court titles in as many weeks, albeit courtesy of her opponent Shuai Zhang’s retirement due to neck injury at 4-5 down in Sunday’s final.
Beatriz Haddad Maia beats Shuai Zhang 5-4 (RET)
“It was unfortunate that she could not finish the match,” said Haddad Maia. “It’s not easy to play two matches in a row with a few hours in between. She’s a great player and a great fighter and she was returning well and doing good things. I just tried to give my best, even though I was also very tired.
“I’m playing aggressive and mentally I try to be aggressive all the time. I’m very happy with the way that I’m playing and I think I can improve as well. I feel like I have chances now in Eastbourne and Wimbledon. I just feel great and really happy.”
Both finalists were forced to play two singles matches in one day after rain wiped out Saturday’s play and pushed the semi-finals into Saturday. Zhang’s day started much better than it finished, with a 4-6 6-1 7-6(5) last four victory over Sorana Cirstea to become the first Chinese woman into the final in Birmingham in tournament’s 40 year history.
Haddad Maia’s clever play proved too much for second seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep, adding another scalp to the collection she has built up in the last two weeks with a 6-3 2-6 6-4 semi-final victory. Like Zhang, she had a hour and 45 minutes rest before returning to the Ann Jones Centre Court for the final but, despite all the tennis she has played in recent weeks, her body was better able to cope than Zhang’s.
The doubles final was not played due to Zhang’s injury, with Ludmila Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko benefitting from a walkover win over top seeds Zhang and Elise Mertens.