Simona Halep was forced to dig deep as she came back to beat Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 to reach the final of the Canadian Open.
Halep dropped a set for the first time in the tournament as she was outplayed in the opening set, struggling to hold her own serve before being broken twice.
Roared on by the Toronto crowd, the majority of whom were backing the Romanian, Halep crucially saved two break points at the start of the second set.
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The momentum shifted when both players broke each other, only for Halep to go 3-1 up by breaking for a second time in the second set.
A frustrated Pegula began to make some unforced errors as Halep sent the match to a decider.
At 2-1 in the final set, the American had four break point opportunities but failed to take any of them.
Halep punished her opponent by breaking in the next game and cemented her lead by breaking again to make it 5-2.
Pegula did manage to take advantage of one of her break point opportunities to pull a game back and apply some pressure onto the world No. 15.
But, Halep served out her next service game to win a rollercoaster match and reach her 42nd WTA final.
She thanked the crowd for their support and revealed she changed her tactics to fight back from the second set onwards.
“I felt like the crowd were pushing me with every ball. I didn’t give up. It was a tough match, an incredible match," Halep said.
“She’s a very good player so it was a big challenge for me to give my best. I fought until the end and I’m really pleased how I played today.
“I changed my tactics in the second set. In the first set she was hitting super strong and I didn’t feel any rhythm. Then I calmed down and pusher her back and it worked.”
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Halep will face either Beatriz Haddad Maia or Karolina Pliskova who play in the other semi-final later on Saturday.
The former world No. 1 last played a hard court WTA 1000 final was four years ago and will look to win in Toronto for the third time after her triumphs in 2016 and 2018.
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