Barty, Stephens reach Rogers Cup semifinals

Doug Mendoza
August 15, 2018

Romanian tennis star Simona Halep, the current leader of the WTA ranking of the best women's tennis players in the world, managed to win the Rogers Cup title once again after a tight final against American player Sloane Stephens in Montreal on Sunday evening, August 12.

In a rematch of this year's French Open, World No. 1 Simona Halep and third-ranked Sloane Stephens treated fans to a match with plenty of twists and turns.

Halep, who defeated Stephens in three sets at Roland Garros in June, earlier cruised past Australia's Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1 to book her place in the final.

The highly-anticipated decider will pit two defence-minded, speedy players against each other, with Halep holding a 6-2 head-to-head record over the American, including winning the last five straight. Halap broke twice more to open the second set and completed the victory over the Australian in 71 minutes.

"I was pretty close (to winning) the last time so I'm just going to go out there and play hard", Stephens, who trails Halep 6-2 in hed-to-head contests, said.

The Frenchwoman started strongly, using her powerful serving to keep Halep at bay for much of the first set. "It's just getting confidence and playing good tennis", she said. I got better than the last final we played.

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Halep, the 2016 tournament champion, was playing her third match in the past two days after earning two wins on Thursday over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 38-year-old Venus Williams.

Mertens broke immediately and superbly used her backhand to save a break back chance and extend her lead to 3-0 opening up the court for her second consecutive break.

"I've been playing well, consistent and that's great", said Stephens. "Then in the second set when I broke, I just said I have to hold my serve, which I did". I think it really helped me to get back my rhythm, and then I was just going more and more for my shots.

"The first set was really tough", Halep said. Obviously, to make a final of another tournament is incredible.

Stephens and Halep have met eight times so far in a head-to-head the Romanian leads 6-2. "But I know she's very talented". Just try to play as well as I can. "I've been playing well and it's a good start here to the US Open Series", Stephens said on-court after the match.

"I feel like my return is growing up, I have more confidence", added Halep.

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