"I played very well for a set and a half".
A single break was enough to decide the second set and help Svitolina reach the fourth semifinal in eight quarter-finals contested. Barty and Halep have never met.
Halep had two further chances to claim the victory Stephens' serve, only for the American to produce further impressive resistance to hold.
"I was very sore when I woke up", said Halep. As the match wore on she started to miss more off the ground and returned to a less aggressive style.
Halep, who defeated Stephens in three sets at Roland Garros in June, earlier cruised past Australia's Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-1 to book her place in the final. Unable to counterattack against Stephens's backhand, the Latvian hurried up things and decided untimely to go down the line with nearly no avail and looked extremely tight when she missed an unsustainable streak of backhand down the line dropshots. It's really tough. It's brutal. Making the finals here is incredible.
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"I think I played smart tennis today", said Halep, who's looking to repeat her 2016 win here. I feel like she improved in her mental (side) also.
"It was really challenging. I think now, just kind of taking it all in stride, trying to play my best, compete, get a lot of matches under my belt". I felt that I'm moving better, I'm playing better, stronger.
Halep played four matches in three days after a night session was postponed because of rain. "I'll be very late again".
"Both matches were insane good, " Halep said about the French and Rogers finals.
Barty and Dutch partner Demi Schuurs also advanced to the doubles semis with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Aoyama Shiko and Lidziya Marozava.
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Halep overcame a challenging opening set to blitz the Frenchwoman in 88 minutes.
After Stephens won the second set, Halep took control in the third, jumping out to a 5-2 lead. Sevastova, ranked 19th, was a recent victor in Bucharest and a finalist in Mallorca.
Sevastova was one of Stephens' victims on her run to a first grand slam win at the U.S. Open previous year.
As for Stephens, the new World No.3 can't be too disappointed in defeat.
"I think everyone is different". She noted Barty had extra rest because she played the first match Friday afternoon.
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This will surely get Browns fans thirsty for the first victory, not that they will really need to extra motivation. The idea of celebrating the first win might have seemed like a touchy subject, but team officials embraced it.