World No. 1 Simona Halep and former No. 1 and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza lined-up a semifinal at Roland Garros after distinctly different wins on Wednesday.
Halep needed to come back from a set down to defeat former No. 1 and No. 12 seed Angie Kerber 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-2 to reach her third Roland Garros semifinal. In the third set the two exchanged breaks before Halep won four of the final five games after a medical time-out for a foot issue.
Halep pointed to her head after match point, asserting her mental edge over the German.
“It’s always a tough match when I play against her,” said Halep, who improved to 6-4 against Kerber. “It’s always three hours, so I’m always prepared before the match that it’s going to be the same. After the first set I just stayed strong, I didn’t give up at all. I missed a lot at the beginning of the match. She’s always putting the ball back and she doesn’t miss, so I tried to do too much and it didn’t work. Then I changed my tactics a little bit, and it worked very well in the end.”
In the semis Halep will have to face the power of Muguruza, who brutalized Russian and another former No. 1, Maria Sharapova, 6-2, 6-1.
The vaunted Sharapova serve failed her as the Spaniard dominated off service returns, immediately taking control of points and giving the Russian much of the same medicine she had spoon-fed opponents in the past.
“It wasn’t coming natural to me,” said Sharapova, who hasn’t seen much come back since serving a doping offense for a medication given to Russian soldiers before they took to the battlefield. “Didn’t have the rhythm. Gave her too many looks on second serves. She’s a great returner, that’s definitely one of the things that she did really well.”
Both semifinals will take place on Thursday at Roland Garros as Halep deals with the power of Muguruza, and Sloane Stephens takes on Madison Keys in an all-American rematch of last year’s US Open final.
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