Halep defeats Pegula to set up Toronto’s final clash with Maia

CANADA: Two-time champion Simona Halep qualified for her fourth National Bank Open final after making a superb comeback against Jessica Pegula in the semifinals. Simona Halep qualified for the final after recording a solid 2-6, 6-3 6-4 win over Jessica Pegula of America.

Halep had to work hard from the baseline, with her reliable backhand often breaking down. But Halep changed gears early in the second set. Finding more consistent depth and using more spin to get the ball out of Pegula’s strike zone, Halep beat the American twice to take a 4-1 lead. Serving at 4-2, Halep saved four break points to hold on to their lead. Halep sealed the set to force the match to a decisive one after 80 minutes.

Serving at 1-2 in the final set, Halep held on and won the match in two hours and 12 minutes building a double lead before fending off Pegula’s comeback attempt. Halep will face Beatriz Haddad Maia in the final. In her 18th WTA 1000 Finals, Halep is looking to win her ninth WTA 1000 title and her 24th career title.

“I changed the tactics a bit,” WTA quoted Halep as saying. “In the first set, it was a bit too fast. She was hitting super hard and I couldn’t feel the rhythm. Then I calmed down and tried to push her back a bit more,” she said. added.

On the other hand, Beatriz Haddad Maia beat No. 14 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6(7) in just over two hours, sealing a place in the final in Toronto. “It’s a special moment,” Haddad Maia said in his post-match press conference.

“I think I had a very tough draw. I had to push myself. I played a lot of tough moments. [Halep is] a champion. He is a very hard working person. I know it will be a very difficult battle, but I will enjoy it. I will leave everything on the pitch,” Haddad Maia said. “I will try to play aggressive. I learned a lot today because in the moments when I wasn’t too aggressive, [Pliskova] played better than me. … I want to improve this for tomorrow. So I will try to take advantage and play point by point,” she added.

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