Top-seeded Halep rolls into Rogers Cup final
Simona Halep’s scheduling dispute with tournament organizers looked to have no effect on her play on the court.
The top-seed and the world’s top-ranked player cruised past Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday in a women’s Rogers Cup semifinal. She advanced to Sunday’s final against the winner of an evening match between third-seeded Sloane Stephens and fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina.
The night before, Halep blasted the Women’s Tennis Association for giving her difficult match times, saying she got the worst schedule in the 56-player event and that “this happens almost every tournament.”
But playing on only 15 hours rest, Halep was in control from the outset against 15th seeded Barty, eliminating the 22-year-old Australian in one hour 11 minutes.
“I was very sore when I woke up,” said Halep. “During the match, it’s not easy to run so much but, you know, I just tried to focus on what I have to play and, to make it a little bit easier, which I did in the end, was to finish it early.”
She had nothing to add to her scheduling dispute, which saw her play four matches in three days after a night session was postponed due to rain.
“I think I talked enough about it,” she said. “I hope in the future it’s going to be better. I was upset. I am upset. But doesn’t change my performance on court.”
Halep has reached the Rogers Cup final for the third time in four years. She won the last time it was held in Montreal in 2016.
The Romanian showed her class as she broke Barty’s serve in the opening game with an impressive series of forehands down the lines. She broke again for a 4-1 lead, but the Australian then had her best moments, breaking back after a cross-court shot that drew a roar from the IGA Stadium crowd.
But Halep did not lose a point on her serve the rest of the set, and broke twice more to open the second set. She completed the victory in one hour 11 minutes.
“I think I played smart tennis today,” she said. “I pushed her very back on her backhand, then I could just receive a shorter ball, an easier ball for me to open the court.
“Then I just went all the way on her forehand — short, cross, long, everything. I played some slices.”
Halep is 6-2 against Stephens in her career, including a win in this year’s French Open final, and has won their last five meetings.
Svitolina leads 4-2 against Halep, winning the last three including a semifinal meeting at last year’s Rogers Cup in Toronto.