MONTREAL – Romanian world No. 1 Simona Halep and fifth-ranked Ukrainian Elina Svitolina advanced to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, a key tune-up for the US Open.
Halep won a tough first-set battle Friday evening against sixth-ranked Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia before pulling away in the second for a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
Unforced errors proved to be Garcia’s undoing, as she committed 31 over the course of the one-hour, 28-minute contest.
“The first set was really tough,” Halep told reporters afterward. “I just didn’t give up at all in the first set. After I took it, I felt more confident. I felt that I’m moving better, I’m playing better, stronger. (Garcia) went a little bit down with energy after she lost that set.”
Next up for Halep in Saturday’s first semifinal will be 16th-ranked Australian Ashleigh Barty, who scored a surprisingly comfortable 6-3, 6-1 quarterfinal victory Friday over Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
Svitolina, the Rogers Cup defending champion, battled past Belgium’s Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-3 on Friday night, leveraging her strong return game to secure five service breaks.
She will next square off against American world No. 3 Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, in Saturday evening’s second semifinal.
Nearly all of the top players on the WTA Tour have been in action this week in Montreal as part of their preparations for the 2018 US Open, which gets under way on Aug. 27.