Mon, 27 Jun 2022

Birmingham [UK], June 20 (ANI): Beatriz Haddad Maia was crowned champion of the 2022 Birmingham Classic after China's Zhang Shuai retired from the championship match with a back injury on Sunday.

With a mere five tour-level matches on the grass to her name prior to her appearance in Nottingham last week; the Brazilian has proven herself to be a title-winning magnate after luring a second consecutive title into her collection. Having battled three seeds to get to the final, the 26-year-old just doesn't seem to know how to lose.

Holding the original Wimbledon ladies singles trophy, the world No.32 shared her thoughts and emotions on the back of her second grass event title of the season.

"We work hard every day, and I don't only have this determination during a final. I'm a fighter and I have the right people behind me," she said.

"Everything I go through in my life just makes me stronger and I think that's why I'm very focused."Maia won two matches in Birmingham on Sunday to be crowned champion. After rain washed out Saturday's scheduled semifinals, both finalists played three-set matches on Sunday morning to reach the summit clash. Eighth-seeded Zhang came from a set down in beating Sorana Cirstea, while Haddad Maia outlasted Simona Halep for her ninth straight win.

Painting the lines; Zhang appeared to have the upper-hand early on as she pushed Haddad Maia into a corner, dialling into her A-game as she went up a break. However, a long shot from the eighth seed prevented her from taking a two-game buffer as the Brazilian marked her first game on the board.

Battling back from a position of deficit, Haddad Maia eliminated any danger as she brought the match back to parity before a shot that drifted wide from Zhang saw Haddad Maia slowly turn the screw as she took control, racking up four games out of five.

However, an injury impeding Zhang's game led to an unforeseen ending on centre court as the reigning Lyon Open winner was forced to retire - adding Haddad Maia's name to the illustrious list of champions here in Birmingham while giving her tenth win on the bounce.

Zhang's retirement in the singles meant that Shuai Zhang and partner, Elise Mertens, were unable to compete in the doubles final, meaning that Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok received a walk over to win the title. (ANI)

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