In a gruelling 2hr 41min battle, French Open champion Halep prevailed 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-4 over Stephens in a repeat of the duo's meeting in the final of Roland Garros earlier this year.
Romanian Halep will now meet the victor of the late semi-final between defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and U.S. Open victor Sloane Stephens for the title on Sunday. I'm happy to be playing good tennis and get better throughout the tournament. Yeah, it's disappointing, but I think this will help me moving forward, getting ready to go into Cincy and the US Open.
"I've been playing well and it's a good start here to the US Open Series. I think now, just kind of taking it all in stride, trying to play my best, compete, get a lot of matches under my belt". Halep appeared flustered but she summoned coach Darren Cahill who urged her to stay calm.
However, Halep called on all her reserves of energy to break the resilience of the third seed, shrugging off a double fault at championship point along the way, as she completed a memorable victory.
The second set was a more one-sided affair, with Halep breaking three times to race to a 7-5 6-1 victory in just 88 minutes.
Halep overcame a challenging opening set to blitz the Frenchwoman in 88 minutes. She said to ask the WTA, who decide the schedule with input from the local promoter and the broadcasters. "I just didn't give up at all in the first set". It was much better in the second set. I feel like she improved in her mental (side) also. I see that I am finding my way of the game. Svitolina, playing in her third tournament in North America this season, increased depth and range off the forehand side to level at 4-4.
While there's an argument that the top player in the world deserved more respect, Barty had the busier week. Going into Saturday's singles semifinal, Barty had spent more than 11 hours on the court, five more than Halep. Stephens, the reigning U.S. Open champion, is now 0-8 in matches against No. 1-ranked players. While she appeared be fresh Saturday, she said she had some problems. I thought she played well.
The timing of the match, in the afternoon, upset the French Open champion after her Friday evening quarter-final win. Just try to play as well as I can.
"I just kept fighting", Stephens said. Then hit for about 10 days before I came over here. I will maybe watch a movie.
Stephens will next face the victor of the later semifinal between fifth-seeded Ukranian and defending champion Elina Svitolina and 14th-seeded Belgian Elise Mertens.