Simona Halep cruises past Ashleigh Barty into Canadian Open final

Rex Christensen
August 12, 2018

But to do so she will have to get past defending champion Elina Svitolina after she dispatched Elise Mertens 7-5 6-3 on Friday.

"Hopefully I'll play very well for two sets". The Ukrainian even got a service break to close the gap to 5-3, but Stephens broke right back to take the set.

The American baseliner broke again for 3-1 in the second set and closed it out in 1:38.

The 25-year-old from Florida then overcame a wobble in the fifth game, double-faulting three times before eventually holding for a 4-1 lead and closing out the set.

US Open victor Stephens will go against Halep on Sunday, having only beaten the Romanian twice in their previous eight meetings.

Stephens ousted error-prone 2017 champ Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 in a semifinal on Saturday while Halep cruised past Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1.

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Barty - who faced Halep for the first time in her career - could only convert one of seven break-point chances and racked up 37 unforced errors, winning just 29 per cent of points on her second serve. The surprise 2017 US Open victor responding by rediscovering the combination of power and unnerving accuracy that had served her well at the start of each set to break straight break and serve out the match with a series of thundering groundstrokes.

A sensational backhand victor down the line gave Halep a break point and when Barty limply returned into the net on the next exchange she found herself 4-1 down.

After a shaky start, the French Open champion won three straight games to take the first set and dominated the second set behind pinpoint serving and stout defence.

The second set remained on serve until the fourth game, when Svitolina fell behind.

With the win Stephens advances to her second consecutive Rogers Cup semifinal after falling to Caroline Wozniacki past year.

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