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techkenyot.com February 20, 2019


'She makes me play better and better' - Halep lauds rivalry with Stephens

13 August 2018, 04:05 | Henrietta Morgan

'She makes me play better and better' - Halep lauds rivalry with Stephens

Simona Halep Montreal 2018

"I think I played smart tennis today".

"You make me play better and better every time we play", Halep said of Stephens.

Simona Halep powered into the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal where she will play US Open victor Sloane Stephens or defending champion Elina Svitolina in the final. Halep has won her past six meetings with the 25-year-old American.

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.

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That haul includes four Champions League wins, nine La Liga crowns and six Copas del Rey, as well as a record five Ballons d'Or. It had been thought the Spanish Super Cup was the same but Sevilla said they would object to "an improper line-up".

Halep complained Friday about playing the first semifinal day after two straight night matches.

Halep reached the Rogers Cup final for the third time in four years.

It was a repeat of this year's French Open final in which Halep beat Stephens in three sets, but she said this one was even better.

"I think I talked enough about it", she said.

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"I thought I played well". 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.

The French Open champion showed no signs of fatigue following her marathon three-set win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Wednesday, running down balls to extend points and wear down the slower Garcia. The American then wasted two set points as Halep forced a tiebreaker. It was the first set Stephens lost all week.

Stephens led throughout the second set, breaking Halep twice, but the Romanian took control of the third set, turning a break into a 5-2 advantage.

Halep, quoted on the WTA website, added: "I just want to give my best tomorrow and to enjoy the final because it's a great thing after a long break to play final at a big tournament". Down but not out, Svitolina battled through a 13-minute game in which she took her opponent to three break points, but failed to convert.

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