MONTREAL (AP) - Top-ranked Simona Halep defeated Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1 Saturday to reach the final of the women's Rogers Cup.
Halep won the match after three sets, ended 7-6, 3-6, 6-4. As the match wore on she started to miss more off the ground and returned to a less aggressive style.
After winning their first match in Barcelona 6-4 6-4 six years ago, Halep took back-to-back straight sets losses to Stephens in Hobart and Melbourne in 2013.
Both players traded early breaks in the decider before Halep secured the 13th break of the match in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead. But, Halep prevailed to claim her third title of the year.
"I think I played smart tennis today", said Halep, who's looking to repeat her 2016 win here. This tournament has definitely shown that I am going the right way. "She makes me play better and better every time we meet each other".
"Then I just went all the way on her forehand - short, cross, long, everything".
"It's an wonderful feeling to be able to talk again at this ceremony as a victor", Halep said. I still have to play five more tournaments. "I feel like I've done that pretty well this year", she said. A year ago, the American was playing Toronto ranked No.934 in the world, and another runner-up finish to the world's top ranked player kicks off her US Open title defense in encouraging fashion.
Barty, the 15th seed, posted a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in a quarterfinal on Friday.
U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens romped into the Rogers Cup semifinals Friday, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-2. "Obviously, in a final, you hope for matches like that - super competitive, high energy. I pushed her. on her backhand; then I could just receive a shorter ball, an easier ball for me to open the court", Halep told WTA.com. After I took it, I felt more confident. A superb backhand down the line gave her set point, which she converted to win the 72-minute opener. But Stephens didn't quit, saving three match points to cut the lead to 5-4.