Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Halep stops Muguruza to reach third French open final

Halep stops Muguruza to reach third French open final

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

"There is a lot of times where I feel like she made the ball by a centimeter", Keys continued, "and I was missing it". I tried to do too much.

At the first Major of the year, the slight heaped on Halep grew in prominence as she cut her way through the draw to reach the final.

She twice has lost in the final at Roland Garros - to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and to Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 - and was the runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.

Halep was impressive in digging out a three-set victory over Angelique Kerber on Wednesday, but it was the sort of match-up she favours.

Muguruza, considered the slight favourite by many, handed her serve over in the first game with a double fault on break point and Halep raced 5-0 ahead in the opening set.

A marathon ninth game proved pivotal as Halep saved three break points to pile the pressure on the third seed.

Muguruza, who had already beaten three Grand Slam champions en route to the final four - including a crushing 6-2 6-1 win over Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals - was unable to capture her best form on Thursday afternoon as she slumped to defeat.

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This is the first all-American French Open semi-final since 2002, when Serena Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati en route to the title. Stephens has made the second week in Paris in five of her seven appearances and Keys is slowly coming to terms with the surface. The Spaniard won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon previous year.

But she has not dropped a set in this year's tournament and dominated Sharapova with booming groundstrokes and superb returning that earned six breaks. Muguruza is 3-0 in career grand slam semifinal matches. "When I'm talking about progression or looking back at the weeks, 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". She went on to commit only 16 errors over the course of the next two, which was the difference in getting the win.

No. 1 Simona Halep def.

Of less logic but ample joy would be Nadal's semifinal opponent for Friday, Juan Martin del Potro, who famously nearly quit the game with belligerent wrists himself, but on Thursday found another crest with his first French Open semifinal berth in nine long, trying years, when he edged Marin Cilic, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Two past U.S. Open champions meet in the other men's quarterfinal: No. 3 Marin Cilic against No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro.

"I am really happy that I won the match, it was very important for my mind and I gave it all I had", said Romanian star Halep.

The American's last win over the 26-year-old Halep was five years ago. "It is a very tough day, because, you know, it's one of those matches where you train so hard, you know, to achieve a Grand Slam final". The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros - plus the No 1 ranking that now belongs to Halep.

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