MONTREAL: World number one Simona Halep powered into the final of the WTA Canada hardcourt tournament on Saturday (Aug 11), cruising past Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1.
Halep, who will now face either US Open winner Sloane Stephens or defending champion Elina Svitolina in Sunday’s final, was in control from the outset against a nervous-looking Barty, whose challenge was undone by a string of unforced errors.
Barty was in trouble on her opening service game, an error giving French Open champion Halep a break point which she duly converted with a superb backhand crosscourt winner.
The next three games went with serve to leave Halep 3-1 up and the 26-year-old then bagged her second break in the fifth game when another Barty error let Halep off the hook to take the game to deuce.
A sensational backhand winner 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.
Barty grabbed a consolation break of serve to make it 4-2, but was unable to claw back another break as Halep took the first set 6-4.
Halep went for the jugular in the second set, opening with two quick breaks to take a 3-0 lead. Barty offered a flicker of resistance in the fourth game after earning three break points to go to 0-40.
But once again Halep’s experience came to the fore and she fought back to deuce and saved another break point before holding for 4-0.
Both players then held before Halep soon took three match points at 0-40 in the seventh game.
Barty fought back to deuce to delay the inevitable before but Halep secured another break to reach her third Canadian final in four years.