Halep back in the Rogers Cup final, overcomes mid-match wobble to defeat Kerber in three sets


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Simona Halep has reached consecutive finals at the Rogers Cup as she recovered from a *0-2 deficit in the third set to defeat Angelique Kerber, 6-0 3-6 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes. Halep won the first and last six games in what was a wild match!

Halep played a superb opening set, hitting eight winners to just two unforced errors and looking rock solid from the baseline. She was given quite the helping hand from Kerber though who committed a whopping 20 unforced errors. Kerber’s forehand was sensational in her quarter-final win over Daria Kasatkina on Friday, but it was misfiring in the first set, spraying errors all over the shop.

Kerber won her first game of the match with a hold of serve to open the second set. Halep kept her side of the scoreboard ticking over with some confident holds, showing full belief behind her strokes. Another lapse service game from Kerber saw Halep go up a set and a break to lead 6-0 *3-2 by virtue of a Kerber double fault on break point.

The match began to turn around with Kerber winning two tight deuce games. Halep missed two break points at 3-3, showcasing her frustration as she angrily swiped her racquet and called down her coach, Darren Cahill on the changeover. Kerber’s forehand began to find its mark for the first time in the match, while Halep’s mental focus seriously wavered as the errors started to flow.

All of a sudden Kerber was the steadier of the two players as she won six games on the trot. Kerber won the second set and then went up an early break in the decider. Halep looked to be in trouble down *0-2 *0-30 but with some aggressive and slightly haphazard hitting, dug herself out of trouble to hold serve. Kerber had the momentum but she let Halep back in with a tame service game to forfeit her early advantage in the third set.

Halep went onto win the final six games of the match, securing the crucial break at 3-2. Halep wobbled mid-match but rather impressively managed to rein it back in, with some help from Kerber, who finished the match in error-strewn fashion. Kerber saved three match points but on the fourth, her shot trickled along the tape and wide.

Halep hit two more winners (27 to 25) in the match but the big difference was in the unforced error count; Kerber hit 52 (!) to Halep’s 24. It’s rare to see Kerber produce such negative stats. In truth, she did remarkably well to reach the semi-finals in Montreal having been just two points from defeat against Elina Svitolina in the third round and coming into the tournament with a cloud of uncertainty due to an elbow injury that forced her to pull out of the tournament in Bastad.

Halep is on a nine match winning streak having won her home tournament in Bucharest two weeks ago. This will be her first final in Montreal but a second appearance in the Rogers Cup final having reached the final two in Toronto last year where she lost out to Belinda Bencic. Halep will play either Madison Keys or surprise package, Kristina Kucova in Sunday’s Montreal final.

Post written by James of Moo’s Tennis Blog

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography


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