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By Ros Satar

  • Simona Halep [5] v Madison Keys [10]
  • H2H: Halep leads 2-1
MONTREAL, CANADA – Simona Halep reached her second straight final in Canada after a three set battle with Angelique Kerber, and will face Madison Keys.

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Halep came through a real topsy-turvy affair with Kerber after dominating the first set, denying the German a game on the board. Not surprisingly Kerber’s coach Torben Beltz came down at the end of the first set, and whatever he said worked, as she rediscovered some much needed form to produce some great shot-making on her way to levelling the match.

After surrendering six games on the trot, Halep relied once more on the counsel of coach Darren Cahill to try and turn things around, making the most of Kerber retreating again towards more passive play, with a 6-0 3-6 6-2 win.

As reported by WTATennis.com, Halep told reporters after the match:

“In the second set, when I lost the serve at 3-2, I was a little bit disappointed. Also the nerves were very big. I don’t know why. But I couldn’t manage that moment, and I can say I gave up a little bit mentally.

“But then in the third set, I said that I have to calm down, to just go and play like I did in first set, aggressive, to open the court, to try to finish the points with winners. I think it’s the best against her.”

In the other semi-final the fairy-tale run of Kristina Kucova, who ended Johanna Konta’s run in the quarter-final, came to its own conclusion as the hard hitting of Keys resulted in a routine 6-2 6-1 victory.

Keys got the better of Halep in their first meeting in Sydney two years ago, dominating the Romanian in the first set before edging her in a slightly more competitive straight sets win.

Since then though, it has been Halep who has the upper hand, beating her later that year on clay in Rome, before going on to reach her first Slam final at the French Open. Halep halted a much fancied Keys in the fourth round of Wimbledon this year having to come from a set down.

Keys has been enjoying quite a purple patch of form – after reaching the Rome final she went on to win the Birmingham title and although many saw her as a dark horse at Wimbledon, she could well push Halep very hard.

The Romanian has two finals to contest on Sunday – having reached the doubles final with compatriot Monica Niculescu, but after retiring in last year’s final in Toronto, there is an element of unfinished business.

For Keys, it is a chance to land a third title, and her first tour title on hard courts and with her solid serving and powerful ground-strokes, she can expect to disrupt any kind of rhythm Halep will be looking for. The Romania will need to play aggressively and try and move Keys around in order to close out her points.

Prediction: Halep in three sets.

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