Simona Halep has won the women’s Rogers Cup for a second time.
The world’s top-ranked player defeated third-seeded Sloane Stephens 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4 in a see-saw battle that featured 15 service breaks at IGA Stadium on Sunday.
The 26-year-old also won when the event was last held in Montreal in 2016.
It was a repeat of this year’s French Open final in which Halep beat Stepens in three sets. Halep has won her last six meetings with the 25-year-old American. Stephens, the reigning U.S. Open champion, is now 0-8 in matches against No. 1-ranked players.
Halep took the US$519,480 winners prize while Stephens won $252,425.
A large Romanian contingent waving their red and yellow flags chanted Halep’s name between points. However, there were just as many pulling for Stephens in a match of two players who don’t overpower with their serve but hammer groundstrokes down the lines.
A back-and-forth opening set saw Halep jump to a 4-1 lead before Stephens found the range with her forehand and broke service three times to take a 6-5 lead. The American then wasted two set points as Halep forced a tiebreaker.
Stephens went up on two Halep double faults, but the Romanian stormed back to take the set. It was the first set Stephens lost all week.
Stephens added three more breaks to take the second set, but lost her serve to open the third.
She broke back for 2-2, but then suffered a letdown as Halep broke service twice more to take the lead. Stephens fought off three match points for one last service break before Halep closed out the two hours 41 minute match.
© 2018 The Canadian Press