AAP Tennis

Barty faces semi showdown with world No.1

By AAP Newswire

Ashleigh Barty faces an ominous task to reach the Canadian Open final for the first time after world No.1 Simona Halep also breezed into the semi-finals in Montreal.

Barty will play the Romanian for the first time after dispatching Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-1 in less than an hour to extend her perfect record over the Dutchwoman to two matches.

The Australian No.1 and 15th seed was in complete control over Bertens, who entered the contest with confidence after eliminating top-10 ranked opponents Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova.

A nervy world No.18 committed 31 unforced errors in blustery conditions as Barty broke Berten's serve four times.

"It was really tricky conditions ... we were both struggling a little," said Barty, who never faced a breakpoint during the lopsided encounter.

"I'm very happy to come through and get a little bit better during the match."

Barty, the world No. 16, has eclipsed her previous best at the tournament, a place in the last 16 when it was held in Toronto last year.

Her latest win means she has claimed eight of her last nine matches on hard courts, though making her third final of the season appears daunting.

Spaniard Carolina Garcia, the No.6 seed, was combative in the first set before Halep secured a crucial break to win the opener 7-5.

She then raced through the second set 6-1 with minimum fuss.

Meanwhile, US Open champion Sloane Stephens romped into the semifinals, beating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 6-2 6-2.

Stephens, the world No. 3, has had a productive 2018, winning a hard-court title in Miami in March and making the French Open final, where the 25-year-old by beaten by Halep.

"When you're playing good matches in big tournaments like this, I don't think it's peaking too soon. It's just getting confidence and playing good tennis," Stephens said.

The American will face fifth-seed and defending champion Elina Svitolina after the Ukrainian beat Belgian 14th seed Elise Mertens 7-5 6-3.