WATCH: Haddad Maia's breakthrough season continued in epic fashion up north with a runner-up finish in Toronto.


Legends recognize legends, and football GOAT Pelé saw one in the making last week at the National Bank Open when Beatriz Haddad Maia broke new ground for Brazil.

Haddad Maia continued her brilliant summer by reaching the biggest final of her career in Toronto, enduring a narrow loss to former world No. 1 Simona Halep at the WTA 1000 up north.

The 26-year-old not only became the first Brazilian woman to reach a WTA 1000 quarterfinal—much less a final—but she was also the first from her country to defeat a reigning world No. 1, knocking out Iga Swiatek in the round of 16.

After defeating Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals, Pelé gave Bia a shoutout on Instagram:

“How good it is to see Brazilians conquering more and more in the sport!” he wrote. “I want to congratulate @biahaddadmaia for reaching Toronto @wta 1000 final, but above that, for the beautiful journey so far. I'll be rooting for you today. You are writing a beautiful story.”

Haddad Maia was equally effusive in the comments, thanking the sporting hero for his kind words.

“What an honor! Our eternal king. Thank you for being an example for so many generations!”

The result will bring Haddad Maia, who already captured her first two WTA titles back in June, into the Top 16 for the first time in her career, and the Brazilian can likely count on a growing amount of hometown support as the tour heads into the US Open.

“I think Brazilians are not used to scream for tennis,” she said of Toronto’s Center Court fans. “Sometimes they scream a little bit more. They think they are in a soccer game.

“But, yeah, it's funny, because like everybody wants to give me the energy. And I was happy to hear a lot of Bia's, come on Bia, vamos Bia, keep fighting.

“It's special to feel that everybody in Brazil is watching on TV. And it's like following tennis because of me. I feel very proud and thankful because of that.”

Haddad Maia next heads to the Western & Southern Open, where she is scheduled to face No. 16 seed Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.