- Associated Press - Saturday, July 30, 2016

MONTREAL (AP) - Simona Halep beat Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 on Saturday to advance to the Rogers Cup final for the second straight year.

The fifth-seeded Halep will face American Madison Keys on Sunday in a rematch of the Romanian player’s three-set victory in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. The 10th-seeded Keys beat Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova 6-2, 6-1 in the second semifinal.

“She hits the ball very strong,” Halep said about Keys. “Her serve is good. It will be not like today, with many rallies. In Wimbledon, the points were shorter. So I expect that I will not have a good rhythm because she can hit a winner and you don’t see the ball. But she can miss sometimes.”

Last year in the final in Toronto, Halep retired in the third set because of illness, handing the title to Belinda Bencic. Halep won two weeks ago in Bucharest for her second title of the year and 13th overall.

“She gets a lot of balls back,” Keys said about Halep. “Her ability to get that extra ball and become the one that’s in charge of the point is what she’s so good at.”

Keys won the Wimbledon tuneup event in Birmingham, England, for her second career WTA Tour title.

Halep topped Kerber after losing to her in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

“It was not my day,” said Kerber, the second-seeded German playing her last event before the Rio Olympics. “I was not playing my best. I made lot of mistakes. That’s actually not my game. I knew I had to go for it, take chances and be a little bit risky to win against her.”

Kerber won six games in a row, including a service break to start the third set, but then Halep took over again with a break to tie it 2-2 and go on a run of six consecutive game wins to end the match.

“In the second set when I lost the serve at 3-2, I was a little bit disappointed,” Halep said. “Also the nerves were very big. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t manage that moment and I can say I gave up a little bit mentally. But then in the third set, I said that ‘I have to calm down, to just go and play like I did in first set - aggressive, to open the court, to try to finish the points with winners.’”

After her singles victory, Halep and countrywoman Monica Niculescu teamed to beat Slovenia’s Andreja Klepac and Katarina Srebotnik 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 in the doubles semifinals. They will face Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, 6-4, 6-2 winners over Americans Christina McHale and Asia Muhammad.

“Actually, when I started the tournament, I said with the prize money from doubles I will go shopping,” Halep said. “Now I have enough, so I will enjoy it. Maybe that’s why I kept winning.”

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