French Open 2018: Garbine Muguruza vs Simona Halep,
08 June 2018, 02:25 | Kristine Mills
GETTYGarbine Muguruza was shocked at Serena Williams French Open withdrawal
Halep is aware she can not afford another poor start on Thursday against 24-year-old Muguruza who has been tested just once in Paris and that was in the first round where fellow former victor Svetlana Kuznetsova pushed her to a tiebreak in the first set.
Sharapova, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, suffered her most one-sided defeat at the Slams since a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 Australian Open final.
A win on Thursday would move Stephens to No. 4 in the rankings.
"I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court and to try to play my game", Halep said.
French Open 2018 nearly presented the momentous occasion where the bitter rivals - Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova - former World Number ones, were about to clash in the 4th round.
Against Kerber, Halep stumbled out of the gate, dropping the first set in a tiebreaker.
By the end of the first set, the 5-time major victor had won just 8 points against the Muguruza serve and failed to carve out a single break point.
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I want to side with Halep, but I can't bet against Muguruza in her current form. The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros, plus the number one ranking that now belongs to Halep.
"It's not that important, because it's constantly this thing going on", said Muguruza. Muguruza has won seven of her last nine matches on clay court. Halep started slowly, spraying shots wide as she lost the first four games of the match against the No. 12 seed who hit her early groundstrokes with lethal accuracy. Just like at the 2017 US Open, Stephens has embraced "go-time" tremendously well again at the French Open this year. Some of those matches were very defining for me.
That set the stage for the lengthy ninth game where Halep stood firm.
"When you're writing an autobiography, I don't think there is any reason to write anything that's not true", Sharapova said.
It will be Halep's second consecutive Grand Slam final. It was her first quarter-final at the majors since Melbourne in 2016 after which she served a 15-month doping ban. Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016 but didn't make it out of sectionals a year ago, is continuing a fantastic run of tennis at Roland-Garros.
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