WTA Rogers Cup: Simona Halep races into semifinals

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Defending Rogers Cup champion Simona Halep seemed unfazed after having to wait overnight to contest her quarterfinal match with Caroline Garcia, as the world number two cruised into the semifinals with a straight sets victory. Halep was challenged for the first eight games of the match, but once she saved break points late in the first set, she dominated, racing to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Late break gives Halep momentum

In the lead up to the meeting, Halep had commented on Garcia’s power. The Frenchwoman used her big serve and groundstrokes to keep the world number two at bay in the early stages of the match, but found herself under pressure in the fifth game. After blowing a 40-0 lead, Garcia found herself needing to save break points in a game that seemed to be wrapped up. Four times in the game, the Frenchwoman found herself down break point. However, her big shots came to the rescue, as she saved three with big forehands and one with a big serve before holding.

Caroline Garcia serves during her quarterfinal loss to Halep. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/
Caroline Garcia serves during her quarterfinal loss to Halep. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/

Garcia would then have a chance to take a lead in the eighth game when Halep netted a forehand to give her break point. But the Frenchwoman would send a forehand long before sending her return long on her second. From 40-AD down in that eighth game, Halep would take control of the match and never looked back. In the very next game, the Romanian took a 15-40 lead with a big forehand that drew an error. Garcia would send her forehand wide to surrender the break. Serving for the set at 5-4, Halep held to love.

Halep cruises through

Garcia would open the second set with a hold before Halep went back to work. The Romanian opened the set with a hold to love and then took advantage of an error-filled game from Garcia to break for a 2-1 lead, with the Frenchwoman double-faulting at 15-40. Garcia finally broke Halep’s 13-point winning streak on serve in the following game, but could do nothing to slow the reigning champion’s momentum.

Halep quietly celebrates a point during her dominant win over Garcia. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/
Halep quietly celebrates a point during her dominant win over Garcia. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/

In the very next game, Halep ripped a forehand winner to set up another double break point opportunity and stretched her lead when Garcia sent a forehand long. The world number two then held to love to take a 5-1 lead. The Frenchwoman briefly slowed Halep’s march to the semis by holding to force the second seed to serve out the match. But Halep was not about to be stopped, hanging on to wrap up the victory in just 71 minutes.

By the numbers

Despite not being known for her serve, Halep dominated her service games in this match. The Romanian won 76 percent of her first serve points and 67 percent of her second serve points. From 40-AD down in the eighth game, Halep would only lose four more points on serve in the entire match. She saved both break points she faced, both in that eighth game of the first set. The Romanian also won 60 percent of Garcia’s second serve points and converted three of her seven break points.

Halep will have a quick turnaround for the semifinals, as she will be back on court this evening to take on Elina Svitolina for a spot in the final.

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