Tactical change helps Halep reach French Open semis

Tactical change helps Halep reach French Open 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. After sitting out almost a year because of an injured right foot that needed surgery in January 2017, she has soared up the rankings and now made it to her second major final in the past ninth months.

The only hope for the Russian was that her 2014 French Open quarter-final defeat of Muguruza, when she also got steamrollered in the first set before coming back, might play on her opponent's mind.

Top-ranked Simona Halep will have another shot in the French Open final. The reference to her book seemed rather irrelevant given the one-sided nature of yesterday's match - Sharapova won only three games.

It was 5-0 by the time Muguruza eventually claimed a game.

It was just her fifth loss in 25 Grand Slam quarter-finals.

"I mean, it's not that important, because it's constantly this thing going on, you know. since a year ago", she said after a crushing 6-2, 6-1 last-eight victory over Maria Sharapova in Paris.

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Sharapova's eagerly-awaited fourth-round clash with Serena Williams never even made it on court on Monday as her American nemesis pulled out an hour before the scheduled start with a pectoral injury. She's a great opponent, a great player.

With his good run at Roland Garros, Del Potro is now guaranteed to return to the top four in the rankings for the first time in more than four years. If she can channel that same degree of aplomb and expertise in the semi, Halep doesn't have much of a chance. Virginia Ruzici won that title in 1978. "I just try to keep that going". 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. "I played again one of my best matches on clay". "It's been a little bit longer for me to get used to it, but I feel like every year I get more comfortable".

"So I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court, and to try to play my game". "It was tough because her ball is very low, and you don't have many chances to finish the points from there".

Muguruza's last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points.

A comeback never appeared likely and, though Stephens was unable to serve out the match at 5-2 after Keys gifted her a double break, she did so at the second attempt with a precise backhand down the line. As she told the press after her quarterfinal win, "There were times when I had to go back and hit a higher ball, where maybe before I would have tried to hit a line-drive victor".