Simona Halep into third French Open final, vows to erase 2017 heartbreak

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova is a value underdog against Garbine Muguruza today

Top seed and world number one Simona Halep defeated Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-2 to reach her third French Open semi-final on Wednesday.

"I think I played one of my best matches on clay against a great opponent", added Halep, who will be appearing in her fourth final at the majors having also been beaten in Australia in January. It also was a rematch of the U.S. Open final won by Stephens last September.

And Thursday, with a gutsy and impressive victory over third-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza in the semifinals of the French Open, Halep earned herself another chance to become a Grand Slam champion.

Stephens can join Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati as the only American women to win a French Open title since 1987.

Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep meet in the semifinals of the 2018 tennis French Open.

Saturday's matchup is an intriguing one, because both of these players are great movers and defenders, and at the same time neither is going to serve 15 aces.

Halep has struggled in the first set of matches so far in the tournament and was asked about that today after beating Muguruza 6-1 in the opener. "My head won it", Halep said.

Breaking Muguruza three times in the first set, she raced into a 5-0 lead.

The 24-year-old Spaniard stopped the rot in the sixth game before Halep quickly reasserted her authority. "I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs".

"It's never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually, like, care about and you're friends with", Stephens said.

"She started playing very well immediately and I wasn't able to reach the level that she was playing at". She's too good of a player to continue to come up short in the big moments.

"I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon", the Daily Mail reported Sharapova wrote.

"And I have two more days until I will play the final".

"After the first set I just stayed strong, I did not give up at all", said Halep, who is still chasing a maiden grand slam.

It was not enough, though, as the Wimbledon champion Muguruza bulldozed her way through the rest of the set to secure her place in the semi-finals.

She endured an eight-match losing streak after leaving NY, going 0-6 for the rest of 2017 and then 0-2 to begin 2018, including a first-round loss at the Australian Open. Muguruza has yet to drop a set this tournament and is forcing many unforced errors from her opponent due to being aggressive and hitting the ball deep. "Looking at Madrid, Rome, I think that's always one of the toughest back-to-backs on the calendar, especially on a surface like clay".

And in a rip-roaring second set, Muguruza ratcheted up the intensity and broke in the third game, but a determined Halep pegged it back at 4-4.

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