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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, June 12, 2022

 
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Beatriz Haddad Maia beat Alison Riske 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the Nottingham final to win her first WTA title. The Brazilian will also play the doubles final.

Photo credit: Getty

Game improvement experience was Beatriz Haddad Maia's main aim in her Nottingham debut.

The 26-year-old from Rio de Janeiro realized a career dream on the grass.

More: Rafa on Grand Slam Race

Haddad Maia won the final three games fending off American Alison Riske 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to capture her maiden WTA title at the Nottingham Open.




Presented with the championship trophy and a bottle of champagne by former British No. 1 Johanna Konta, a beaming Haddad Maia embraced the moment, rousing fan support and champagne climax. 

"It was just amazing," Haddad Maia said in her on-court interview. "I've never expect that I could have a lot of crowd and people cheering for me so thanks a lot for making this special for me.

"It was tennis especially on grass everything change very fast and Alison, she is a very good player. She competes every single point no matter what. I know the match could turn if I push my level down as well and she was improving her game so I was trying to push to keep concentrated... I'm very happy I was fighting with myself and that I could get this trophy and the champagne."

Contesting her 13th career final, Riske was up a break at 2-1 in the final set only to see Haddad Maia amp up her intensity and the sting of her forehand winning five of the final six games.

"Congrats to Beatrize on an amazing week and to your whole team," said Riske, who dropped to 3-10 in WTA finals. "I'm grateful for my whole week."



It's the culmination of an inspired journey for the 48th-ranked left-hander who made history as the first Brazilian woman to contest a grass-court final since legendary Hall of Famer Maria Bueno fell to Margaret Court in the 1968 Chestnut Hill final. Haddad Maia, who will also play the doubles final today partnering Zhang Shuai, said she set a simple goal: fight for every single point.

"It's crazy because I never thought in my life my first one could be on grass," Haddad Maia said in her on-court interview. "And I think because of that—because I didn't create any expectation—and I just came here to improve my game, to play every single point I was giving like 500 percent.

"I won the first round in the third set. In the second round I was a set and a break down and I was just trying to fight and I think that's why I came to this final to fight I'm very happy to win this title here. Nottingham, for sure, will be in my heart."

A crackling Riske return was on the Brazilian's body quickly and her redirect forehand went wide as the American broke for a 2-1 third-set lead with a clenched fist to her box.




The left-hander lifted her level playing off the front foot with aggression. Haddad Maia lashed a strike to break back and even after four games. Curling a crosscourt forehand, Haddad Maia backed up the break to go up 3-2.

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The seventh game was a turning point. Haddad Maia hit a ball she thought touched the line, but was called out. Nottingham doesn't employ replay technology and the chair umpire couldn't get a clear view of the ball on the far sideline. Haddad Maia briefly argued then channeled anger into action coming back to hold for 4-3.

Hitting through her forehand with more vigor and showing more positive emotion, the Brazilian earned break point in the eighth game. Riske double faulted deep to gift the break and a 5-3 lead.

Credit Haddad Maia for meeting the moment with poise as she served out her maiden WTA title at 15.


 

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