Tennis: Halep downs Pegula to reach Canadian Open final
Simona Halep overcame some shaky serving to beat American Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 and reach the Canadian Open final in Toronto, where she will face either Karolina Pliskova or Beatriz Haddad Maia for the title on Sunday.
Pegula put pressure on Halep’s serve at the outset of the match and wrapped up the 35-minute first set with an ace.
But a loose service game early in the second set, capped by a unforced backhand error, gave the Romanian two-time Grand Slam champion a 3-1 lead as frustration began to mount in her less experienced opponent.
Halep broke at love for a 3-2 lead in the third set and hung on to claim her 37th victory of the year despite producing 10 double faults and putting fewer than 60% of her first serves into play.
With the win, two-time Canadian Open champion Halep will re-enter the top 10 for the first time in almost a year when the new rankings are released on Monday.
“The fire is back,” Halep told reporters when asked about moments in the match where she appeared poised to take out her frustration on her racket.
“It’s a good sign if I do that… it helps me sometimes. I don’t know always if it’s good or not. But it helps me.”
The popular former world number one, who saved 12 of 17 break point chances, said she got a boost in the match’s biggest moments from the vocal support of the fans in Toronto.
“It felt like I was in Romania today,” she said.
“They sent a lot of energy. In the tough moments they really pushed me. So I would like to thank them for that. And I’m waiting for them, actually, tomorrow.”
Big-serving Czech Pliskova and unseeded left-handed Brazilian Haddad Maia were playing their semifinal later on Saturday.