Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Simona Halep tops Sloane Stephens to win Montreal title

Simona Halep tops Sloane Stephens to win Montreal title

In a rematch of Halep's French Open final victory, she overcame Stephens in the match that had 15 service breaks. But, Halep prevailed to claim her third title of the year. "This week, it's been an unbelievable effort".

Top-ranked Simona Halep outlasted third-ranked Sloane Stephens 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4 on Sunday to win her second Rogers Cup title. "Actually when I started the tournament, I was really down with my return because I couldn't feel it". I feel like these tournaments, at this level, you have to have one day off between the matches.

In the second set, Stevens has drastically added to what Halep was not ready.

Svitolina was down 4-0 in the first set before rallying to oust the Belgian in their quarter-final clash thanks to 25 winners. Halep has had a largely excellent season, highlighted by her French Open victory, and will consider herself amongst the favourites in NY.

But she then cruised to a two-set victory over Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals and then outlasted Stephens in a thriller that lasted two hours 41 minutes.

"Both matches were insane good", said Halep.

"I've been playing well, consistent and that's great", said Stephens.

"I've gotten through some tough moments, had some mental lapses, but I recovered well". She doesn't give up that much now.

"I've been playing well and it's a good start here to the US Open Series".

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

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"We played a good match", Stephens said of their showdown at Roland Garros.

Halep, the top seed, began her Montreal campaign after a bye against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

World number one and top seed Halep steamrolled Caroline Garcia after overcoming a hard test. "I hope in the future it's going to be better". "I will go and just stay in the bed, eating everything".

A large Romanian contingent waving their red and yellow flags chanted Halep's name between points.

"She's the world No.1 for a reason but I'm just going to go out there and try to get her".

Top seed Halep, who won the tournament in Montreal two years ago, broke twice in the first set and three times in the second to ease through on Saturday. But since then, Halep has recorded five wins on the bounce, including in Washington and Cincinnati previous year on similar courts.

A hold left her 4-2 up and she bagged another break in the seventh game to go 5-2 ahead when Stephens wearily duffed a straightforward volley into the net.

Yet Halep saved two set points, and two more in the tie-break, before eventually taking the opener after 70 punishing minutes. Stephens fought off three match points for one last service break before Halep closed out.

"Obviously I'm sad I lost, but losing to the number one player isn't too bad".

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