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Two-time champ Halep edges Pegula to reach final in Toronto

Simona Halep edged out Jessica Pegula 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday afternoon and will play the winner of the match between Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia and Czech Karolina Pliskova, the No 14 seed, in the final

Simona Halep Toronto 2022 Simona Halep celebrates a victory in Toronto || AI / Reuters

Simona Halep, the No 15 seed and two-time champion in Canada, edged out American Jessica Pegula, the No 7 seed, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to move into the final of the National Bank Open on a sunny afternoon at the Aviva Centre in Toronto on Saturday.

The Romanian moves into the final, where either Karolina Pliskova, the No 14 seed, or unseeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, waits.

Returning to the top-10 next week

The Romanian won from a set down for the fifth time this season, and was proud of her effort.

“I didn’t give up, it’s been a tough match, incredible match,” Halep said of her performance across the two hour and 12-minute contest . “She’s a very good player, a top-10 player, so it was a big challenge for me to come out here and to give my best. I fought til the end and I’m really pleased with the way I played on court today.”

After dropping the opening set, Halep was able to turn around the match in sets two and three. She had to scrap to work through service games, saving 11 of 14 break points across the final two sets, as she broke Pegula five times.

“I changed a little bit the tactics,” Halep said. “In the first set it was a little bit too fast. She was hitting super strong and I didn’t feel the rhythm. But then I just calmed down and I tried to push her back a little bit more – I did well.”

Halep is into her 18th 1000-level final, and her 41st career final overall. By defeating Pegula, she has assured herself a return to the top-10 in Monday’s WTA rankings – she will either be No 9 as a runner-up or No 6 with the title.

The 30-year-old also reaches her first final with new coach Patrick Mouratoglou at the helm – she began working with the former coach of Serena Williams this spring. She improves to 37-10 on the season, and 21-5 on hard courts in 2022.

“I’m really pleased with the way I fought today and every match with the way I play,” she said. “Of course, I can improve. But I’m building the confidence, I’m building the game, and I’m really happy that I’m in this position.”

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