Montreal - World number one Simona Halep powered into the
final of the WTA Canada hard-court tournament Saturday, cruising past
Australia's Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1.
Halep, who will now face either US Open winner Sloane
Stephens or defending champion Elina Svitolina in Sunday's final, was in
control from the outset against a nervous-looking Barty, whose challenge was
undone by a string of unforced errors.
Barty was in trouble on her opening service game, an error
giving French Open champion Halep a break point which she duly converted with a
superb backhand crosscourt winner.
The next three games went with serve to leave Halep 3-1 up
and the 26-year-old then bagged her second break in the fifth game when another
Barty error let Halep off the hook to take the game to deuce.
A sensational backhand winner down the line gave Halep a
break point and when Barty limply returned into the net on the next exchange
she found herself 4-1 down.
Barty grabbed a consolation break of serve to make it 4-2,
but was unable to claw back another break as Halep took the first set 6-4.
Halep went for the jugular in the second set, opening with
two quick breaks to take a 3-0 lead. Barty offered a flicker of resistance in
the fourth game after earning three break points to go to 0-40.
But once again Halep's experience came to the fore and she
fought back to deuce and saved another break point before holding for 4-0.
Both players then held before Halep soon took three match
points at 0-40 in the seventh game.
Barty fought back to deuce to delay the inevitable before
but Halep secured another break to reach her third Canadian final in four