Tennis: Simona Halep downs Angelique Kerber in see-saw battle to reach Montreal final

Simona Halep of Romania (above) celebrates her victory over Angelique Kerber of Germany during the semifinal of the Rogers Cup Women's tennis tournament in Montreal, Canada, July 30.
Simona Halep of Romania (above) celebrates her victory over Angelique Kerber of Germany during the semifinal of the Rogers Cup Women's tennis tournament in Montreal, Canada, July 30.PHOTO: EPA

MONTREAL (AFP) - Simona Halep reasserted herself in the third set to seal a 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Angelique Kerber on Saturday and reach the final of the WTA hard-court tournament in Montreal.

Romania's Halep, the fifth seed, avenged a loss to Germany's Kerber in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, settling her second-set nerves to secure the win in 1hr 38min.

"I knew it was going to be a tough one," Halep said. "Always when I've played against her it was a difficult match."

In the other semi-final, American 10th seed Madison Keys reached her first WTA Tour hard-court final by crushing qualifier Kristina Kucova 6-2, 6-1.

Halep got off to a roaring start against an out-of-sorts Kerber.

But the second-seeded German responded with a six-game winning streak of her own to claim the second set and open the third with a service break.

"After the first set, I was trying to forget the first 25 or 30 minutes," Kerber said. "I was trying to come back and play again, trying to play my game, thinking about every single point actually, and not thinking that I lost the first set 6-0."

Halep responded with her own six-game winning streak to close out the match.

"In the third set I said that I have to calm down, to be more positive because I was very negative at the changeover," Halep said. "I just tried to be more aggressive, to hit the ball because I started to push it... and she could dominate."

Halep is in the final of the tournament for the second straight year.

In last year's title match, she retired in the third set because of illness to hand the title to unseeded Swiss Belinda Bencic.

Besides reaching her third final of 2016, the victory today ensures Halep's rise to No. 3 in the world rankings, moving up two positions to overtake Garbine Muguruza.