Halep tops Teichmann, sets Gauff meeting in Toronto

Simona Halep, number 15, made it to the quarterfinals for the sixth time in her career at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, fending off world No. 21 Jil Teichmann 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and a half. Here are three takeaways from the former world No. 1’s win:

Halep thrives at this level and in Canada: WTA 1000 events have become Halep’s happy spot after nearly a decade at the top of the game. She has more match wins in WTA 1000 events than any other player, with 182 following Thursday’s win (Victoria Azarenka’s 177 and Caroline Wozniacki’s 176 are next on the list).

And of all the WTA 1000 events on tour, the National Bank Open is one of Halep’s best. She won the event in 2016 and 2018, making it one of five events Halep has won twice in her career.

However, both Canadian titles have come from Halep in Montreal; Her best career finish in Toronto was a second-place finish behind Belinda Bencic in 2015. Halep would certainly love to complete a trifecta of titles by triumphing in the province of Ontario for the first time.

Wind Experience Key: Teichmann has proven her credibility on North American summer hard over the past two years, reaching the 2020 Finals in Lexington and making her maiden WTA 1000 Finals last year in Cincinnati.

But on a blustery day in Toronto, Halep’s extended experience at this level paid off in the difficult conditions. In the first set, Halep increased their chances of making mistakes and left Teichmann with few opportunities to attack.

Self-proclaimed perfectionist Halep stayed focused, overcoming inevitable flaws induced by the wind, and she drew on her superb defense and rally tolerance as Teichmann tightened things up in the second set.

Teichmann mixed things up as the game progressed with increasing forays into the net. But Halep stayed strong and was never broken in the tight second set, and she was rewarded with her 35th match win of the season, behind only Iga Swiatek (47) and Ons Jabeur (37).

It’s a special tournament here because I always play good tennis. It was super difficult for both of us today. The wind didn’t really let us feel the ball. So it was a tough time, but I’m really happy that I was able to stay mentally strong in the end and finish it.

– Simona Halep

Gauff expects: Halep’s path doesn’t get any easier when she takes on No.10 Coco Gauff in the Quarterfinals. Gauff is putting together a career-best season and she showed champion courage this week by beating Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in the tie break of the third set in their last two games.

However, Halep can take comfort in the fact that she is 3-0 against Gauff with a straight-set win on every surface. Halep beat Gauff en route to her 2019 Wimbledon title (which was Gauff’s career breakthrough) and she has had two more victories this year on the hard courts of Indian Wells and the clay of Madrid.

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