Halep, Svitolina advance to Montreal semi-finals

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Montreal (Canada), Aug 11 (IANS) Romanian World No.1 Simona Halep and fifth-ranked Ukrainian Elina Svitolina have advanced to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, a key tune-up for the US Open.

Halep won a tough first-set battle on Friday evening against sixth-ranked Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia before pulling away in the second for a 7-5, 6-1 victory, reports Efe.

Unforced errors proved to be Garcia’s undoing, as she committed 31 over the course of the one-hour, 28-minute contest.

“The first set was really tough,” Halep told reporters afterward.

“I just didn’t give up at all in the first set. After I took it, I felt more confident. I felt that I’m moving better, I’m playing better, stronger. (Garcia) went a little bit down with energy after she lost that set,” she added.

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Next up for Halep in Saturday’s first semi-final will be 16th-ranked Australian Ashleigh Barty, who scored a surprisingly comfortable 6-3, 6-1 quarter-final victory on Friday over Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

Svitolina, the Rogers Cup defending champion, battled past Belgium’s Elise Mertens 7-5, 6-3 on Friday night, leveraging her strong return game to secure five service breaks.

She will next square off against American world No. 3 Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, in Saturday evening’s second semi-final.

Nearly all of the top players on the WTA Tour have been in action this week in Montreal as part of their preparations for the 2018 US Open, which gets under way on Aug. 27.

–IANS

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