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By Chris Oddo | Saturday August 18, 2018

Simona Halep

Simona Halep remained undefeated since Wimbledon by defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the Cincinnati semifinals on Saturday.

Photo Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty

Simona Halep reached her third Western and Southern Open final in four years with a commanding 6-3, 6-4 win over Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday in Cincinnati.

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Halep, who improves to a WTA-best 46-7 on the season, will bid to win the Canada-Cincy double on Sunday when she faces Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens for the title.

Despite an impressive 20-6 lifetime record at Cincinnati, the title has eluded her. She was defeated by Serena Williams in the 2015 final, and last year fell to Spain’s Garbiné Muguruza.

On Saturday Halep battled past Cincinnati debutante Sabalenka for the second time this season.

The Romanian won 17 of 32 return points and broke three times on three opportunities to take the opening set. She looked to be headed to a lopsided victory when she broke for 3-1 in the second set but Sabalenka broke back for 2-3 and drew level in the next game.

Sabalenka was ranked No.110 in the WTA rankings this year, but entered this year’s draw at No.34 in a season that has seen her go 27-17 with four Top 10 wins and two Top 5 wins. She is projected to rise to about No.25 in the WTA rankings as a result of her trip to the semis.

Halep saved a pair of break points to hold for 5-4 in the second set and, after Sabalenka saved a match point with her seventh ace, the Romanian converted her second match point with yet another stunning scrambling point.

The Romanian is into her sixth final of 2018 and she will bid for her 19th career title on Sunday.


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