No. 4 seed Simona Halep of Romania will contest her first Grand Slam final against former No. 1 and No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova of Russia after both players advanced through the semifinals on Thursday at Roland Garros.
Halep closed out a tight second set against surprise No. 28 seed Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 7-6(4), while Sharapova needed to come back from a set down to defeated No. 18 seed and upstart Canadian teen Genie Bouchard 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“She played an unbelievable match today,” said Sharapova, who failed to serve out the second set at 5-4 against Bouchard before finally wrapping it up and running away with the third. “Her level was extremely high and I was fortunate to win because she played tremendous tennis…It was tough losing that first set, but that’s not when the match ends and that’s why you put in the hard work — to get through those moments.”
Halep, who had never been past the quarterfinals of a Slam, let her emotions loose after stopping the second-set momentum of Petkovic in a tiebreak.
“I’m very emotional and I feel amazing now knowing I will play the final here in Paris,” Halep said on court. “Andrea was very tough and she is a good player, but I was a little bit stronger in the end and am so happy to get through…I want to thank everyone here today, because you all helped me win.”
Halep, who has not a set during the fortnight, is well acquainted with her opponent in the final after losing to Sharapova in the Madrid championship match last month.
“In the second set [in Madrid] I changed my style and was behind the baseline too much,” Halep said. “I have to be aggressive against Maria. She’s a great player, so I’ll try my best and hopefully it will be a good enough.”
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