'She makes me play better and better' - Halep lauds rivalry with Stephens

Ashleigh Barty congratulates Simona Halep

Ashleigh Barty congratulates Simona Halep. Tennis and Racquet Sports Barty blows Canadian Open chance

The world No 1 was in control from the outset against a nervous-looking Australia's Ashleigh Barty, whose challenge was undone by a string of unforced errors.

The top seed, who claimed the Montreal title in 2016, won seven of the last eight games as she wrapped up a straightforward victory over the 22-year-old Australian in one hour and 11 minutes.

World number one Simona Halep turned back American Sloane Stephens 7-6 (6) 3-6 6-4 to win the Rogers Cup women's title in a rematch of their French Open finale in Montreal on Sunday.

Spaniard Carolina Garcia, the No.6 seed, was combative in the first set before Halep secured a crucial break to win the opener 7-5.

Halep complained Friday about playing the first semifinal day after two straight night matches.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia drapes herself over the net after missing a return to Simona Halep
Ashleigh Barty of Australia drapes herself over the net after missing a return to Simona Halep

The Frenchwoman might have thought she was at a practice session with her team as she took on Maria Sharapova at the Rogers Cup third round, playing a feisty game with smooth, basic strategies to win over the Russian 6-3, 6-2.

She then raced through the second set 6-1 with minimum fuss.

"I think the match was a very good level of tennis even if the rhythm was a little bit mixed". "Simona Halep raises her game at just the right time", a commentator said anxiously. "Yeah, it's disappointing, but I think this will help me moving forward, getting ready to go into (Cincinnati) and the U.S. Open".

The world No.16 broke Berten's serve fours times and never faced a break point to book her first-ever semi-finals appearance in Canada. Sharapova had a lot of spunk and great rallies for her French opponent and she combined some good tactics, to lead in the first set 2-all but the Frenchwoman played a patient game and soon leveled the score to 3-all.

Barty, the world No. 16, has eclipsed her previous best at the tournament, a place in the last 16 when it was held in Toronto a year ago.

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