Halep topples Garcia in straight sets to reach Montreal semis AFP, Montreal

Lynette Rowe
August 15, 2018

World number one Simona Halep outlasted Sloane Stephens 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4 to win her second Rogers Cup title in the last three years.

The win moved Halep into Sunday's final against the victor of a Saturday evening match between third-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States and defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

Top seed Simona Halep sent Caroline Garcia packing for the second consecutive year at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Friday with a 7-5 6-1 win to set up a semifinal showdown with Ashleigh Barty on Saturday.

But Stephens, the reigning U.S. Open champion and third seed, has not dropped a set in four matches this week and looks poised to give the world's top-ranked player a battle when they meet on Sunday on centre court at IGA Stadium.

Barty awaits after the Australian beat Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-1.

Yet Halep saved two set points, and two more in the tie-break, before eventually taking the opener after 70 punishing minutes.

"She played fantastic, she's a great fighter, she's a great player, so it was a big challenge for me", Halep said.

Halep had two further chances to claim the victory Stephens' serve, only for the American to produce further impressive resistance to hold.

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Halep played four matches in three days after a night session was postponed because of rain. Instead, she played the first evening quarterfinal and now has the early semifinal. But I feel great.

"I had just over two weeks of no tennis, actually, which is really nice". I'm happy to be playing good tennis and get better throughout the tournament.

"I just went all the way also on her forehand, short, cross, long, everything".

In the second set, Stevens has drastically added to what Halep was not ready. In 2013, she reached the doubles final of three grand slam tournaments with partner Casey Dellacqua. "I'm happy to be back in North America and playing on hard courts, and I'm hoping for some more good results", said Stephens in an on-court interview after the match.

It was Halep who drew first blood in the decider, but Stephens, looking the fresher of the two, pegged her back at 2-2. "I'll be very late again".

The Ukrainian even got a service break to close the gap to 5-3, but Stephens broke right back to take the set. "I will go and just stay in the bed, eating everything".

Stephens could now prepare more confidently the title defence in NY, as she said yesterday.

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