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WATCH: Frustrated by Simona Halep’s tactics, Jessica Pegula angrily criticises the Romanian mid-match

Jessica Pegula gets frustrated with the playing style of Simona Halep during their semi-final match at the 2022 Canadian Open in Toronto.

Jessica Pegula and Simona Halep

Simona Halep and Jessica Pegula were involved in a high-intensity semi-final clash in the 2022 Canadian Open in Toronto where the former World No. 1 eventually emerged victorious. Halep won the match 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to enter the finals at the tournament, her first Tour finals since she won the title in Australia in the first week of the season in January.

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The win has also ensured Halep will be back in the Top 10 for the first time in more than a year as she dropped out of the Top 10 on 9th August 2021. Halep had a difficult patch mid-season but ever since her hiring of Patrick Mouratoglou, the Romanian is back at her best and is now one win away from clinching her first title under the French coach’s guidance.

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Jessica Pegula calls Simona Halep a ‘pusher’

Jessica Pegula and Simona Halep after the match

During the semi-final bout with Pegula however, Halep was seen engaged in some unorthodox tennis style where she did not aim for winners but rather focussed on returning the ball successfully going in for long rallies and trying to win the point through Pegula’s error instead of her own shots. This technique when a player is engaged in just returning the ball instead of finding winners is called ‘pushing‘ in tennis and although a legal tactic, it’s frowned upon as poor sportsmanship.

With Halep not going for winners and forcing errors from Pegula, the American was left frustrated with the playing style and was caught on-camera screaming, “She’s pushing, she’s such a pusher.” Whether she was complaining to the chair umpire or to her own box remained unclear but it was certainly visible that Halep managed to throw Pegula off her game and it could be a big reason for Halep’s comeback win after losing the first set in just 8 games.

While ‘pushing’ as a playing style continues to keep the fans divided, Halep would be focusing on winning the finals of the tournament to claim her second title of the season and her 9th career WTA-1000 title which will take her career title tally to 24 titles. She will be up against Beatriz Haddad Maia, one of the most in-form players on the Tour right now who became the first Brazilian to reach the finals of a WTA-1000 event by defeating former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in straight-sets.

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