MONTREAL – Top-ranked Romanian Simona Halep brushed aside surprise semifinalist Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday to reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
Halep was too solid from the baseline for the Australian, who found herself under constant pressure from the Romanian’s fine-tuned ground strokes.
The Romanian successfully employed a strategy based on making a high percentage of first serves and controlling the rallies.
It paid off as she put 86 percent of her first serves in play and won 80 percent of those points in the first set. Her numbers were similar in the second set (81 percent first serves in and a 71 percent first-serve winning percentage).
Barty tried to do more with her first serve than her opponent and finished the contest with five aces.
But her 29 percent winning percentage on second-serve points for the match (a reflection of Halep’s domination of the baseline rallies) proved to be her undoing.
Although Barty has one of the stronger forehands on the WTA Tour, Halep’s big edge on the backhand side meant most of the baseline points went her way.
“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,” the world No. 1 was quoted as saying on the WTA’s Web site.
Next up for Halep in Sunday’s championship match will be the winner of Saturday evening’s second semifinal pitting Ukrainian defending champion Elina Svitolina against 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
The Rogers Cup is one of the biggest hard-court events on the women’s tennis calendar and a key tune-up for the US Open, which gets under way on Aug. 27.
The Rogers Cup men’s tournament is also being played this week in Toronto.