Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Garbiñe Muguruza sends Maria Sharapova crashing out of French Open

Garbiñe Muguruza sends Maria Sharapova crashing out of French Open

Muguruza has not dropped a set at Roland Garros and the 2016 champion needed only 70 minutes to consign a startled Sharapova to a 6-2, 6-1 defeat Wednesday.

She pointed her right index finger at her temple when she eventually completed a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 comeback. I stayed focused. I never gave up. Halep saved two match points to win that one.

Garbine Muguruza is coming off a straight sets win over Maria Sharapova that took 15 games to decide.

In short, the market has been convinced that Halep is the better player throughout this event, but yet has ditched her for this particular match-up, and it's hard to understand why.

Halep is still chasing her first Grand Slam title.

Serena Williams might have fancied meeting this version of Sharapova, who made six double faults and 27 unforced errors.

"[The match] was really about the mental", Halep said of her win, per Alex MacPhersonof WTATennis.com.

The women got their matches done before rain arrived at Roland Garros, leaving the men's quarterfinals suspended in progress.

Though Kerber, sensing a pendulum swing, cut her passive play out and began to construct her most aggressive points of the match, Halep would be able to protect that advantage throughout the set.

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In Thursday's other semi-final, US Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on fellow American and close friend Madison Keys who she beat 6-3, 6-0 in the final in NY last September.

Halep is a three-time Grand Slam runner-up, including in Paris in 2014 and previous year; Kerber is a two-time major champ elsewhere; Muguruza won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017; and Sharapova owns five Grand Slam titles, including at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014.

"I just didn't feel free, and I felt there was a lot of force behind all the shots and that it wasn't coming natural to me - didn't have the rhythm", Sharapova told reporters.

The American pair have contrasting styles, with Stephens' game based on her athleticism and ability to get many balls back, while also turning defence into offence fairly quickly.

"I think she did a lot of things better than I did".

Muguruza advanced in the fourth round when Lesia Tsurenko retired after just two games, but her recent run has still been impressive with only five lost games in her last three rounds, including a 6-0, 6-2 win over Samantha Stosur in Round 3. "If I do that, I will be okay after the match, no matter the result".

Sharapova looked out of touch from the beginning and was never allowed to settle, as Muguruza posted her first victory against the Russian at the fourth attempt. Over the last two sets, Halep made 16 unforced errors, half as many as Kerber, who was treated for a blister on her left foot early in the third.

Follow along for a breakdown of quarterfinal action at the second Grand Slam of the year.

Here's another key category in which Muguruza has the upper hand: 2-0 in major championships.

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