Simona Halep will be looking to reach the National Bank Open final when she takes on Jessica Pegula on Saturday at 6pm (UK time).
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After bowing out of the semi-finals at Wimbledon to eventual winner Elena Rybakina, Halep is looking to bounce back quickly in preparation for the US Open, in what is a record 29th semi-final in a WTA 1000 event, moving three clear of Serena Williams’ 26. The 15th seed for the National Bank Open, Halep entered in the first round and was pit against Lucky Loser Donna Vekic, beating the Croatian in straight sets.
Straight-set victories is the theme of Halep’s run to the National Bank Open semi-finals, with the Romanian yet to drop a set, following the victory over Vekic with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Zhang Shuai. Jil Teichmann was the next to fall in the third round, beaten 6-2, 7-5, to set up an intriguing quarter-final between Halep and Coco Gauff. The American gave Halep her toughest test of the tournament so far but still fell in straight sets, losing 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Gauff was the first seeded player Halep met at the National Bank Open, and it’s been a similar run to the semi-final for Pegula. As seventh seed, Pegula got a bye to the second round where she faced Qualifier Asia Muhammad, beating her fellow American 6-2, 7-5. There was a less straight-forward match for Pegula in the third round though, as she was taken to three sets by Camila Giorgi.
After losing the opening set 3-6, Pegula looked to be on her way to a comfortable victory, claiming the second 6-0, but things were a lot closer in the decider with the American just about getting through 7-5. There was a return to a slightly more straightforward win in the quarter-finals though, with Pegula beating Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-3, to move within one win of a second WTA 1000 final (losing to Ons Jabeur in the Madrid Open back in May).