French Open 2018: Muguruza dumps Sharapova to reach semis

Yesterday's matches in Paris saw Simona Halep fight back from the disappointment of losing the first set on a tiebreak against Angelique Kerber to take the next two sets in relatively facile fashion, while our selection, Maria Sharapova, disappointed in the extreme in her defeat to Garbine Muguruza, who created 12 break points and faced just one.

First, at Court Suzanne Lenglen, the 13th-seeded Keys remained focused during a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over 98th-ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, never wavering when she fell behind in the opening set or when her volatile opponent could have become a distraction.

Backed by fans who loudly chanted her first name between games, Halep went ahead 3-0 with the help of only one victor. It was her first quarter-final at the majors since Melbourne in 2016 after which she served a 15-month doping ban. Stephens closed in on her second Grand Slam title by beating pal Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday in the first all-American semifinal at the French Open since 2002.

Halep will hope to deny Muguruza a shot at winning a third Grand Slam title and book herself into a third final at Roland Garros in the process, with her top ranking intact.

PARIS-Can Simona Halep finally do it?

"She was better than me today", Kasatkina said. Muguruza won the French Open in 2016, then Wimbledon a year ago.

"I think the book was 100 percent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing", said Williams, who played in her first Grand Slam since giving birth past year.

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Muguruza is to my mind the slight favourite given her thumping 6-2, 6-1 win over Maria Sharapova yesterday, and greater pedigree at the majors.

Two-time major victor Kerber raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set before having to rely on a tiebreak to nudge her ahead.

"But to have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction". It would be very odd, I think, if I didn't write anything about her.

"I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs".

A sprightly Halep returned superbly on a sunny afternoon on Court Philippe Chatrier, breaking six times in one of the most impressive performances of her career. "And when I got my opportunity at 4-3 to break, I was like, It's go time", Stephens explained.

Halep and Stephens won straight-set matches in the semifinals.

"And she was hitting so many deep, heavy balls, that I really felt like I was having to go for a lot", said Keys, who is now 0-3 against Stephens.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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