Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens have come together to play two of the best finals of 2018, most recently at Sunday’s Coupe Rogers, where the World Number 1 narrowly edged the US Open champion in a rematch of last month’s French Open final.
“Both matches were crazy good,” Halep said after the 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4 victory. “She makes me play better and better every time we meet each other. That’s a great thing for me.”
Halep further lauded Stephens in expressing, “I feel like she improved in her mentality. She’s a strong player. I think she’s a complex player. She has everything.”
Stephens was equally positive in her tribute during the trophy ceremony of what was her first Premier 5 final.
“Even though I lost today, I literally left everything on the court,” she said. “Obviously, I’m sad I lost, but losing to the Number 1 player isn’t too bad.
“Every time I play her, she makes me a better player, she makes me raise my level. Sometimes you gotta get your butt kicked the hard way, and that’s ok.”
Halep struggled with physical issues throughout the match, receiving treatment for a left toe blister and later admitted to an ab problem that hampered her to serve.
The title in Montréal is her third of the season, earning her a 42nd match win in what was only her second tournament appearance since capturing her first Grand Slam title in Paris.
“I think I got better today. I got better than the last final we played. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but I think this will help me moving forward, getting ready to go into Cincy and the US Open. Just going to kind of take it all in, realize I did a good job this week, and I can be proud of myself for that”, Halep explained.