French Open 2018: Garbine Muguruza vs Simona Halep,

French Open 2018: Garbine Muguruza vs Simona Halep,

French Open 2018: Garbine Muguruza vs Simona Halep,

"But before that, we are not going to be weird and awkward and make it, like, weird for each other", said Stephens, who was close to going out in the third round to Camila Giorgi before winning 8-6 in a deciding set.

Simona Halep went from out-of-sorts to on-target against Angelique Kerber, scrambling to every ball and staying the course to erase an early deficit. I think she's clear on who she's playing. Halep said: "I feel calm".

"I started in the first set not matching her level", said Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion.

Two women who have won the title at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza, play each other in the quarterfinals.

That might very well have been a relief to 10-time champion Rafael Nadal, who was not at his best and dropped a French Open set for the first time since 2015. Moving sluggishly and playing dozily, Muguruza managed a single game in the first set, which she finished with a tally of just two clean winners and 14 unforced errors.

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.

It will be the third time the Romanian has reached the final of the tournament in Roland Garros but she is still looking for her first Grand Slam title.

In fact, her next match win after the US Open did not come until Acapulco in February.

Her consistently errant groundstrokes allowed Stephens to secure a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in and hour and 17 minutes. Muguruza, who is 3-1 against the No. 1-seeded Halep in her career, has never squared off with her in a Grand Slam.

Three previous times, she played finals, including the 2017 French Open and the 2018 Australian Open.

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Sharapova certainly didn't do that.

The 24-year-old Spaniard stopped the rot in the sixth game before Halep quickly reasserted her authority. She made Muguruza hit the extra ball all match long and outlasted her in a really crucial game at 4-4 in the second.

Sharapova didn't need to play a point in the fourth round, because Serena Williams pulled out of their much-anticipated match with an injured chest muscle. She committed four double faults, compared to one for Muguruza, and had just one ace.

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

So here comes a fourth chance after a blazing showing against Garbine Muguruza, the two-time major-title victor who had looked like a champ here until Thursday.

Like Sharapova, Halep trailed 4-0 at the outset.

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

But Halep figured things out.

The next step for Halep will be her most hard. It's his second semifinal appearance in a major tournament in four years (2017 U.S. Open). "I have more experience now".

I want to side with Halep, but I can't bet against Muguruza in her current form. Some of those matches were very defining for me.

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