Fiery 2-time champ Halep into Toronto final

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TORONTO — Two-time champion Simona Halep of Romania advanced to the National Bank Open’s final, beating Jessica Pegula of the United States 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday.

Halep will face Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, 6-4, 7-6 (7) winner over 14th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the night semifinal.

Halep smashed a racket on the hard court at Sobeys Stadium after she missed a return late in the third set.

“The fire is back,” Halep said. “It’s a good sign if I do that. It looks like I’m fighting. It helps me sometimes. I don’t know if it’s always good or not, but it helps me.”

The 15th-seeded Halep won the tournament in Montreal in 2016 and 2018. Pegula was seeded seventh.

Haddad Maia has knocked out three seeded players, No, 13 Leylah Fernandez, No. 1 Iga Swiatek and Pliskova.

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