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Halep topples Garcia in straight sets

MONTREAL (AFP) – World No. 1 Simona Halep punched her ticket to the semi-finals of the WTA Canada tournament for the fourth straight year, cruising past France’s Caroline Garcia, 7-5, 6-1, on Friday.

The 26-year-old Halep battled through a difficult first set then easily won the second in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal contest with Garcia which was also won by the Romanian.

The top-seeded Halep hammered 19 winners and won 77 percent of points on her first serve in the 88-minute contest.

Garcia started quickly but could not keep her unforced errors in check, finishing with a total of 31. She earned her only career win over Halep in five previous meetings in the 2017 WTA Beijing final.

Halep moves on to the final four where she will face Aussie Ashleigh Barty who ousted giantkiller Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in straight sets 6-3, 6-1.

Halep, the 2016 tournament champion, was playing her third match in the past two days after earning two wins on Thursday over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 38-year-old Venus Williams.

After the match Halep slammed the WTA about her scheduling saying she regularly has less time to recover from matches than her opponents.

On Friday, Halep broke Garcia in the fifth game of the second set for a 4-1 lead and had no trouble icing the win from there by winning the final six games.

World number 16 Barty reached the semi-finals by reeling off nine of the last 10 games against Bertens.

Barty was the more composed player in difficult, windy conditions as Bertens, who had seen off ninth seed Karolina Pliskova and eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in her previous two matches, was undone by 31 unforced errors in the 55-minute quarter-final.

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