Halep sets up Vinci decider

Halep sets up Vinci decider

Simona Halep remains on track for her eighth career WTA Tour title after reaching the showpiece of the Bucharest Open on Saturday.

The world number three was made to work hard for her triumph, though, eventually overcoming the challenge of fellow Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-2 4-6 6-1 in just under two hours.

Halep won six of her titles in 2013 and has continued her impressive rise with another victory this year – in Doha – and appearances in the last eight of all three grand slams in 2014.

A final defeat at the French Open was the closest she got to breaking her duck, but she will hope for better fortune against Roberta Vinci in the decider of the WTA International event on clay.

Halep breezed through the opening set of her semi-final against Niculescu thanks to three breaks, while she also won 75 per cent of points on her first serve.

But Niculescu – who had already upset third seed Klara Koukalova and Polona Hercog on her run to the final – produced an impressive response to take the second set.

She did that by upping her serving as Halep lost a set for the first time at the tournament.

The top seed hit back emphatically, though, winning 12 of 14 points on Niculescu's serve in the decider.

That booked her place in the final against second seed Vinci, who beat Kristina Kucova of the Czech Republic 6-1 6-3 in the other semi-final.

Vinci was on court for just 66 minutes in the rout as she won 76 per cent of points on first serve. The Italian also made five breaks.

Halep has played Vinci on five occasions, winning three, including the last two.

And Halep's 6-0 6-1 thrashing of Vinci at 'S-Hertogenbosch last year is sure to give the Romanian confidence ahead of a final she is sure to receive partisan support in.

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