TORONTO, Canada - No.5 seed Elina Svitolina is through to the Rogers Cup final for the first time after outgunning defending champion Simona Halep in straight sets.
The last time these two met, Halep pulled off an epic comeback in the French Open quarterfinals, coming back from a set and 5-1 down to save match point and oust Svitolina 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-0.
This time around, Svitolina didn’t give Halep an inch and sealed her place into the Toronto final with a ruthless 6-1, 6-1 victory in 57 minutes.
“In Paris it was very difficult to have that loss, but I think it also was the experience,” Svitolina said in her post-match press conference.
“So that's why, from the first point today till the last point, I was very focused and I was just 100% on every ball. I learned from that experience that you need to play until the last point and just one point at a time.”
A sluggish start from the World No.2 put Svitolina in total control from the start, needing just 16 minutes to break twice and build up a 5-0 lead. The usually solid Halep was allowing too many costly unforced errors; she’d go on to rack up 34 errors - more than twice Svitolina’s 16 - and just nine winners to Svitolina’s eight.
The second set was just as one-sided as the first, with Svitolina racing ahead a triple break lead to put her ahead 5-1.
But that’s when things started to seem all too familiar for Svitolina, as Halep suddenly found her range and broke the Ukrainian as she was serving for the match, even saving match point to the crowd’s roar of approval.
Svitolina didn’t allow her to pull off a Paris repeat, though, and she calmly took the match on the second time of asking with a decisive fourth break to the Halep serve.
Despite the one-sided loss, Halep is taking away the positives from her run to the Toronto semifinals.
“It's a semifinal, so it's not that bad,” Halep explained in her post match press conference. “Big tournament. I played really well also this morning.
“So it's just this match that I will forget it very fast for sure. I have just to move on and to look forward. I have many tournaments ahead. And sometimes it happens, this was one of my bad days.”
Through to her fifth final of 2017, Svitolina will take on Caroline Wozniacki in the final after the Dane charged past the resurgent Sloane Stephens in straight sets earlier in the day.
It’ll be Wozniacki and Svitolina’s second meeting of the season, with the Ukrainian leading 2-0 in the pair’s overall head-to-head record.
“It's going to be a final, another final this year. And I'm going to think about just as next opponent, my next match,” Svitolina said.
“Of course, she's having a good year as well. She's injury-free and playing really good. So it's going to be a good match. I know this.
“And I will try to recover quickly because it was very tough day today, not only physically but also mentally, you know, to stay focused all the time. And winning in straight sets was quite tough.
“I need some time to think, to analyze this day today, and then move into the final tomorrow, which is already very soon.”