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08 June 2018, 02:25 | Susie Olson
Maria Sharapova is a value underdog against Garbine Muguruza today
When the draw was made at the Orangerie of the French Open exactly two weeks ago, gasps were heard plenty of times with names such a Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka finally being back in the women's draw of the French Open. Muguruza, who is 3-1 against the No. 1-seeded Halep in her career, has never squared off with her in a Grand Slam. "At least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing".
In Thursday's other semi-final, US Open champion Stephens will take on fellow American and close friend Keys who she beat 6-3, 6-0 in the final in NY last September.
Halep broke to love as Muguruza wilted in the next game, sealing her third final appearance at Roland Garros and ensuring she will stay as world number one after the tournament. She was in Chicago with coach Kamau Murray, working her way back from a foot injury that required surgery and sidelined her for 11 months. She won on her first match point with a backhand victor down the line.
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.
"When you're facing somebody that also has an aggressive style of game I think it's about who takes the command, who takes the first opportunity", Muguruza said.
"I rushed too much at the beginning", Halep told a news conference. She double-faulted three times in the opening game, part of her 27 unforced errors. I'm not ever going to try to be a person that isn't nice, so that feels more authentic to me and, you know, I think I'm still doing okay. And I will try just to be calm during the match and try everything I can. "If I do that, I will be OK after the match, no matter the result". Thanks to her sublime athleticism and great ball-striking, she can essentially "shut the court down" against her opponents, slowly smothering them with controlled aggression, injections of pace or go on lock-down defensively. "I've had issues with the right pectoral muscle to the point where I can't serve", said the 36-year-old after withdrawing from the match.
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