Halep sets up Muguruza Cincinnati final and closes on world number one spot
Sloane Stephens proved no match for Simona Halep as the second seed raced into the Western and Southern Open final.
Simona Halep cruised past wildcard Sloane Stephens to set up a Western and Southern Open final against Garbine Muguruza and close on the world number one spot on Saturday.
The Romanian was a class above Stephens in a classy 6-2 6-1 victory that came in just 55 minutes and she has still not dropped a set throughout the tournament.
Halep has never lifted the title in Cincinnati, her previous best coming in 2015 when she was runner-up to Serena Williams, but if she manages the feat she will become the new world number one.
It marks the third time this year Halep will have a shot at the top ranking, with Wimbledon champion Muguruza standing in her way following a brilliant victory over current world number one and last year's champion Karolina Pliskova.
Halep went into the contest having won three successive matches against the American and was dominant in all areas en route to a double-break 5-1 lead.
Having served out for the set, Halep again quickly had the upper hand in the second with Stephens lacking precision on her groundstrokes.
Stephens managed to hold her first service game, but that was as good as it got as Halep reeled off six in a row with her aggressive, all-action style.