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Halep beats Keys to take Rogers Cup

Simona Halep, of Romania, holds up the trophy in front of her national flag after defeating Madison Keys, of the United States, during the final of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament on Sunday, July 31, 2016, in Montreal. Halep won 7-6 (2), 6-3. (Associated Press)
Simona Halep, of Romania, holds up the trophy in front of her national flag after defeating Madison Keys, of the United States, during the final of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament on Sunday, July 31, 2016, in Montreal. Halep won 7-6 (2), 6-3. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

MONTREAL – Simona Halep of Romania defeated American Madison Keys 7-6 (2), 6-3 to win the $4.7 million women’s Rogers Cup on Sunday.

Halep, seeded fifth, rebounded from losing to Belinda Bencic in the final a year ago. It was the Romanian’s third tournament win this year and the 14th of her career.

She won $497,700 while Keys took home $241,840.

With the victory, Halep will jump to third in the WTA rankings. She has won 10 consecutive matches, including a victory at her home tournament two weeks ago in Bucharest.

Spurred by a strong contingent of Romanian fans at Uniprix Stadium, Halep outlasted the 10th-seeded Keys in a messy first set and then dominated the second in a 1-hour, 16-minute hard-court match in warm, sunny weather.

The first set had eight service breaks in 12 games – four apiece – before Halep took over in the tiebreaker. She then went up 3-0 to start the second, which included one game that had Keys put an easy volley into the net on break point. That break was enough to have Halep through the second set and take the Rogers Cup title for the first time.

Keys has the more powerful serve, but the 21-year-old struggled to get in her first attempts. That played to Halep’s strength as a strong rally and baseline player. Keys repeatedly ended rallies with shots into the net as Halep patiently kept the ball in play.

Keys has 21 wins in her past 25 matches and will climb to ninth in the world, equaling her career-best ranking.

Halep is also in the doubles final with compatriot Monica Niculescu to be played later Sunday against Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Visnina. She will attempt to be the first to sweep both titles at the Rogers Cup in the same year since Martina Hingis in 2000.

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