Halep defeats Pegula to set up Toronto final clash with Maia

Two-time champion Simona Halep advanced to her fourth National Bank Open final after producing a stunning comeback against Jessica Pegula in the semifinals.
Simona Halep
Simona HalepReuters

CANADA: Two-time champion Simona Halep advanced to her fourth National Bank Open final after producing a stunning comeback against Jessica Pegula in the semifinals. Simona Halep advanced to the final after registering a strong comeback win 2-6, 6-3 6-4 against Jessica Pegula of America.

Halep had to work hard from the baseline, with her reliable backhand breaking down often. But Halep shifted the gears early in the second set. Finding more compatible depth and using more spin to kick the ball out of Pegula's strike zone, Halep broke the American twice to build a 4-1 lead. Serving at 4-2, Halep saved four break points to maintain her break lead. Halep sealed the set to force the match into a decider after 80 minutes.

Serving at 1-2 in the final set, Halep hold her ground and clinch the match in two hours and 12 minutes by building a double-break lead before holding off Pegula's comeback attempt. Halep will face Beatriz Haddad Maia in the final. Into her 18th WTA 1000 final, Halep is bidding to win her ninth WTA 1000 title and 24th career title.

"I changed a little bit the tactics," WTA quoted Halep as saying. "In the first set, it was a little bit too fast. She was hitting super strong and I didn't feel the rhythm. Then I just calmed down and I tried to just push her back a little bit more," she added.

On the other hand, Beatriz Haddad Maia trashed No.14 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6(7) in just over two hours, sealing a spot in the final in Toronto. "It's a special moment," Haddad Maia said in her post-match press conference.

"I think I had a very tough draw. I had to push myself. I played a lot of tough moments. [Halep is] a champion. She's a person who works very hard. I know it will be a very tough battle, but I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to leave everything on the court," Haddad Maia said. "I will try to play aggressive. I learned a lot today because in the moments that I wasn't too aggressive, [Pliskova] was playing better than me. ... I want to improve that for tomorrow. So I'm going to try to enjoy and play point by point," she added.

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