Simona Halep wins epic Rogers Cup final in Montreal

Semi-final here I come Ashleigh Barty hits a return against Kiki Bertens in her Montreal quarter-final win on Friday

At 6-4, Stephens again had her chances but it was Halep who would take the first set with four points in a row.

With the win Stephens advances to her second consecutive Rogers Cup semifinal after falling to Caroline Wozniacki past year.

"She was striking the ball and everything was going in for her. Yeah, it's disappointing, but I think this will help me moving forward, getting ready to go into [Cincinnati] and the U.S. Open". However, there were just as many pulling for Stephens in a match of two players who don't overpower with their serve but hammer groundstrokes down the lines. "But I know she's very talented".

Top seed Halep, who won the tournament in Montreal two years ago, broke twice in the first set and three times in the second to ease through on Saturday. Barty and Halep have never met.

"She played wonderful, she's a great fighter, she's a great player, so it was a big challenge for me", Halep said.

She doesn't know why she is often given hard match times. Whenever she has reached the last 4 this season, she managed to win the title.

Svitolina rallied briefly to get back to 5-3 but then handed Stephens another break and the first set when she sent a forehand wide.

"Even though I lost today, I literally left everything on the court", Stephens said.

That Barty has climbed back into the WTA's top 20 is impressive considering that she set tennis aside just as she was first making her mark to play in a women's pro cricket league in 2015.

Before that, she had been Wimbledon junior champion in 2011. "Obviously, in a final, you hope for matches like that - super competitive, high energy".

"I felt like it was a gradual progression for me to come back and play tennis", said the five-foot-five Barty.

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"It was really challenging".

"I'm very happy to come through and get a little bit better during the match": Ashleigh Barty.

"I've been playing well, consistent and that's great", said Stephens.

Now she's won six straight hardcourt matches, including a pair of Fed Cup victories. "I feel like I've done that pretty well this year", she said.

"I hit some dropshots, which I don't normally do, because I was too exhausted", said Halep, who has reached at least the semifinals in four straight Rogers Cups.

Barty and Dutch partner Demi Schuurs also advanced to the doubles semis with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Aoyama Shiko and Lidziya Marozava.

The advice paid off as Halep served out the set and then broke Barty three times in the second set which was closer than the score indicated.

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 victor. She played her sixth quarterfinal this year.

In a rematch of this year's French Open, World No. 1 Simona Halep and third-ranked Sloane Stephens treated fans to a match with plenty of twists and turns.

"I think everyone is different". She's playing good tennis.

"Leading up to the U.S. Open, obviously past year it worked pretty well".

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