Halep defeats Garcia to reach semifinal in Montreal

Sloane Stephens Montreal 2018

Top-ranked Simona Halep defeated Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1 Saturday to reach the final of the women's Rogers Cup.

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.

The second set was a similar story, with Stephens going 3-1 up after an early break.

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

Next up for Halep is Australian Barty, who strolled to a 6-3 6-1 win over Kiki Bertens in their quarterfinal match earlier in the day.

Halep was in control from the outset against a nervous-looking Barty, whose challenge was undone by a string of unforced errors.

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French Open champion Halep remained on track to reclaim the tournament she last won two years ago with a convincing 6-4 6-1 success. 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.

Although Barty has one of the stronger forehands on tour, Halep's big edge on the backhand side meant most of the baseline points went her way.

Spaniard Carolina Garcia, the No.6 seed, was combative in the first set before Halep secured a crucial break to win the opener 7-5.

The second set went much quicker with Halep winning seven of the last eight games. Barty offered a flicker of resistance in the fourth game after earning three break points to go to 0-40.

Stephens reached the semi-final at this event last year en route to her surprise US Open triumph, and the 25-year-old will now have another chance to get the better of world number one Halep, who came from a set down to win their showdown in the decider at Roland Garros in June.

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