Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Nadal resumes French QF; Halep-Muguruza, Stephens-Keys in SF

Nadal resumes French QF; Halep-Muguruza, Stephens-Keys in SF

Sloane Stephens now stands in wait after winning the all-American second semi-final with Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4.

"I will try my best", Halep told the crowd at Court Phillipe Chatrier, "and hopefully I will be better than previous year".

Halep made light work of beating Garbine Muguruza with a masterful semi-final display on Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday to retain top spot in the rankings.

But by the third set Halep had broken the German's defences - and her resolve - as she banged in 76% of her first serves, with only half the unforced errors of her opponent. Halep has made the French Open finals two other times, losing to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and Jelena Ostapenko past year.

A marathon ninth game proved pivotal as Halep saved three break points to pile the pressure on the third seed. Halep's only win over Muguruza came in the 2016 Stuttgart Open, the only meeting between these two on clay.

Now she has another chance to break her duck when she takes on American 10th seed Sloane Stephens in the final at Roland Garros.

"It's really hard to play against a great friend, but I am pleased to be in the final for the first time", said Stephens who will rise to four in the world thanks to her deepest run in the French capital.

"But I will be more confident because I have a lot of experience?" Now she will try and win a second Grand Slam title in the last three Slams at the French Open.

And now she says it, " said 1978 French Open champion Virginia Ruzici, who is Halep's manager and the only woman from Romania to collect a major title.

After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand victor down the line.

"It would be very odd, I think, if I didn't write anything about her".

Simona Halep appears to be the clear favourite to win this match, which probably means she won't win it. "She loves clay. She loves Roland Garros".

She saw off her compatriot again on Thursday in straight sets at Roland Garros to set up the clash with world number one Halep.

Kerber eventually prevailed in a tiebreak, but Halep came out all guns blazing in the second, firing baseline bullets at her opponent, who tried to cling on against the onslaught.

She also failed to win a single service game in the opener.

Halep also lost the 2014 final in Paris to Maria Sharapova and suffered more heartbreak on a sweltering night in Melbourne in January when she went down in three sets to Caroline Wozniacki.

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro serves to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament, Paris, France, June 7, 2018.

"She started playing very well immediately, and I wasn't able to reach the level that she was playing", she said.

Kerber is a two-time Grand Slam champion.

Meanwhile, when Stephens beat Keys in NY, the match lasted 61 minutes. Halep has become more aggressive as the tournament has progressed, and she will try to be more proactive with her positioning and her shot selection. "If I do that, I will be OK after the match, no matter the result".

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