Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens: Canadian Open final preview and prediction

Simona Halep Montreal 2018

Stephens, preparing for her US Open title defence, broke the Ukrainian's serve five times to reach the final without having dropped a set through the tournament.

Stephens responded by winning each of Halep's first two service games to 15 and, at the fourth time of asking, she converted a break and set point courtesy of an errant Halep backhand to force a decider. "I'm happy to be back in North America and playing on hard courts, and I'm hoping for some more good results", Stephens said.

A hold left her 4-2 up and she bagged another break in the seventh game to go 5-2 ahead when Stephens wearily duffed a straightforward volley into the net. 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. Unable to counterattack against Stephens's backhand, the Latvian hurried up things and decided untimely to go down the line with nearly no avail and looked extremely tight when she missed an unsustainable streak of backhand down the line dropshots.

The 2016 Rogers Cup champion held serve for the remainder of the set. In 2013, she reached the doubles final of three grand slam tournaments with partner Casey Dellacqua.

"I saw that (Saturday) I play at 1 p.m. (ET)". "I feel like this is where I belong".

The second set was a more one-sided affair, with Halep breaking three times to race to a 7-5 6-1 victory in just 88 minutes.

Barty will play the Romanian for the first time after dispatching Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-1 in less than an hour to extend her ideal record over the Dutchwoman to two matches. It's obviously upsetting that I didn't win, but I think I got better than the last final we played.

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. "But I know she's very talented". I'm really pleased with that. She said to ask the WTA, who decide the schedule with input from the local promoter and the broadcasters. "I made semis back to back, then ended up winning the U.S. Open, so I don't really think there's such a thing".

Stephens added three more breaks to take the second set, but lost her serve to open the third.

"I think [Mertens] started pretty well", said Svitolina, who avenged her Australian Open quarter-final defeat.

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