Simona Halep beats Muguruza at French Open to reach 4th Slam final

Virginia Santiago
June 8, 2018

It took her 29 minutes just to gain a game, and by then she already trailed 4-0.

Halep won in an hour and 32 minutes, and was awaiting the victor of the second all-American match between Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.

Stephens's run to Saturday's final comes after a roller-coaster year since her US Open stunner.

"It's always hard playing someone from your country and such a good friend", Stephens said, "so I was really pleased to be able to get through that and play some good tennis". She will face the victor of Thursday's all-American semifinal between Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. He committed 74 unforced errors on Thursday, one more than in his previous two matches combined. The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros, plus the number one ranking that now belongs to Halep.

"To have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction", said Sharapova who had made the last-eight in Madrid and semis in Rome in the run-up to Paris.

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After losing to Wozniacki in a gruelling duel in the heat of the evening at the Australian Open in January, Halep required hospitalization for severe dehydration.

Spain´s Garbine Muguruza (R) is congratulated by Russia´s Maria Sharapova after winning, at the end of their women´s singles quarter-final match on day eleven of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open on June 6, 2018. Muguruza has yet to drop a set this tournament and is forcing many unforced errors from her opponent due to being aggressive and hitting the ball deep.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Muguruza awaits her after demolishing Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-1 on Philippe-Chatrier and the pair will now fight it out for Halep's No. 1 ranking.

Halep responded well to going behind.

But Keys, who made 23 unforced errors in the first set, hit back hard and set up a break point at 3-2, only for Stephens to save it with a service return victor. It was her first quarter-final at the majors since Melbourne in 2016 after which she served a 15-month doping ban. Muguruza sensed weakness and pounced for a 4-0 lead.

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The second set was more of a test for Halep, who was ahead by a set and 3-0 before falling apart against Ostapenko a year ago.

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win.

Halep came through a testing quarter-final clash with resurgent former world No 1 Angelique Kerber, coming from behind to win 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal reached his 11th French Open semifinal as he bids for a record-extending 11th title at the clay-court major. "And then when we get on the court, it's time to compete. So I'm excited to play a good semifinals, and it's good that it's tomorrow".

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