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WTA TORONTO – Svitolina to face Wozniacki for the title

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by Alessandro Mastroluca

Gone with the wind. In a very windy night in Toronto, Elina Svitolina won the third and fourth set of the day and dispatched Simona Halep 6-1 6-1 . Svitolina, needing to obtain her fifth title of the season to climb up to No.24 improving her highest rank, will meet Caroline Wozniacki, aiming to seal the first title of the season in her sixth WTA final after clinching the record-46th match win of the season.

"I don't really think too much about others when I'm out there on court, I just think about myself and what I need to do," Wozniacki said. "And every time I step out on the court, I believe I can win.

That's really the way I think." After beating Muguruza in the quarter-final definitely delayed yesterday because of heavy rains. Svitolina managed to remain calmer than her opponent in the tricky conditions. Halep looked forlorn in a land of confusion, as she had seemed in her previous meeting when Svitolina was leading 5-1 in the second before losing 6-0 in the third at the French Open quarter final last June.

But the ending remained very different. Halep managed to avoid suffering the first “bagel” since 2016 Beijing round 16 but couldn't do anything more. Svitolina increased her role as the player with more top 5 wins this season and sealed her seventh success of this kind in eight matches having beaten three times Kerber (at Brisbane, Dubai and Fed Cup), Karolina Pliskova (Rome), Muguruza (Toronto) and twice Halep (here and at Rome).

Playing her sixth semifinal of the season, the Ukrainian reached her fourth final without conceding any real chanches on her serve to World No.2. Svitolina will now face Wozniacki in a clash between the only two players with more than 40 victories so far.

The 2010 Rogers Cup champion put an end to resurgent Sloane Stephens’ dream run 6-2 6-3 in an hour and minutes. The No.934-ranked Stephens, entered the Rogers Cup with a protected ranking after being out over 11 months with a foot injury, is now projected to be back into the top 150 thanks to her first Premier 5 semifinal.

The Dane played aggressive tennis from the start charging ahead to a 3-0 lead and consolidating it with another break to move 5-1 up. Stephens, now 1-6 down against Wozniacki, showed some fight-back late in the set, taking advantage of a brief letdown from Wozniacki - whose backhand started to misfire - to get a break back.

But her efforts were undone by too many unforced errors and Wozniacki calmly marched through the first set. Things got a bit complicated in the second set for the Dane, with Stephens turning around a 1-3 deficit to level the match.

The American showed glimpses of her impressive power game that brough her to win four titles in as many finals but her 41 unforced errors to 11 for Wozniacki proved costly. Wozniacki struck again a few games later, and served out the match after a brief rain delay at 5-3.

The No.6-seeded Dane broke six times on nine chances, and won more than half of her first- and second-serve return points won to wreak havoc and put pressure on Stephens all day. "I think I was moving very well and retrieving and just trying to stay aggressive when I could," Wozniacki said.

"But it was a difficult match. And I think it was closer than what the scoreline showed." "I didn't win, but I think this whole week was a very big personal victory," Stephens said. "So I didn't win the tournament, but in my eyes I did.

For this to be my third tournament back and playing like this, I mean I really couldn't ask for anything more," she said. "So I'm super happy with that." .

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