Halep could secure the pre-US Open curtain-raiser
World number one Simona Halep swept into the final of Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with a 6-3 6-4 win over Aryna Sabalenka.
The top seed, who last week secured her second Rogers Cup title, won in straight sets in one hour and 15 minutes as she raced to an early break and 2-1 lead.
Sabalenka kept her opponent working to break straight back, but then immediately dropped serve to see Halep move 3-2 ahead, with the Romanian breaking once again in the final game to take the opening set.
Belarus’ Sabalenka, who overcame three top 10 players on her way to the semi-final, was unable to find the form she displayed against Madison Keys in the quarter-final, and Halep claimed an early 3-1 lead in the second set.
Sabalenka again broke straight back and managed to level at 4-4, but Halep dug deep to take the match on her second match point.
The two-time Cincinnati finalist will now face Kiki Bertens, who earlier beat Petra Kvitova 3-6 6-4 6-2 to reach her third final of the season.
The world number 17 fought back from a set down after losing the last five games of the first set, but overcame a break-laden second set to level the match.
From there, she dropped just three points on serve in the third, clinching the match in just under two hours.