Halep, Stephens set up rematch of French Open final
PARIS (Reuters) – World number one Simona Halep set up a rematch of the French Open final with Sloane Stephens after cruising to a 6-4 6-1 victory over Ashleigh Barty at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
The Romanian, who overhauled reigning US Open champion Stephens at Roland Garros to earn her maiden grand slam title, claimed seven of the last eight games in a strong finish to despatch the 22-year-old Australian.
“I think I played smart tennis today. I pushed her on her backhand, then I could just receive a shorter ball, an easier ball for me to open the court,” Halep said.
“I just went all the way also on her forehand, short, cross, long, everything. I played some slices. I think the match was a very good level of tennis even if the rhythm was a little bit mixed.”
Stephens defeated defending champion Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 in the afternoon session, breaking her five times to reach the final without having dropped a set through the tournament.
The highly-anticipated decider will pit two defence-minded, speedy players against each other, with Halep holding a 6-2 head-to-head record over the American, including winning the last five straight.
“I was pretty close (to winning) the last time so I’m just going to go out there and play hard,” Stephens said.
“I have nothing to lose. Making the finals here is incredible.
“She’s the world number one for a reason but I’m just going to go out there and try to get her.”