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Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

World No.1 Halep slides past Muguruza, into third RG final

World No.1 Halep slides past Muguruza, into third RG final

Despite being the number one seed, the Romanian Halep has yet to win a Grand Slam title having also lost this year's Australian Open final to Caroline Wozniacki in January.

The other semifinal match saw Simona Halep emphatically end the impressive French Open run of 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win.

Halep had the crowd roaring with appreciation of a magnificent victor in the opening game of the second set but she was a break down at 2-1 after netting a forehand.

Indeed, her Roland Garros campaign this year came close to ending in the third round when Italy's Camila Giorgi twice served for the match and was within two points of winning. Stephens closed in on her second Grand Slam title by beating pal Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday in the first all-American semifinal at the French Open since 2002.

Current world number one Halep made the semi-finals for the 3rd time by battling past Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-2.

It was just her 5th loss in 25 Grand Slam quarter-finals.

Stephens had never gone past the fourth round in Paris, but repeating her win over Keys in last year's US Open final gives her the chance of double glory.

Halep assured herself of retaining the No. 1 ranking and reached her third final in Paris.

It's ladies singles semi-final day today, and with the tournament wide open, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to preview the action.

She is one of two semi-finalists - alongside Garbine Muguruza - who are yet to drop a set this fortnight in Paris.

This was a less clear-cut victory but an early break of serve in each set put Stephens in control. This year, she was two points from defeat in the third round against Camila Giorgi of Italy before turning that match around. "I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon", Sharapova wrote. Like, I have just slowly kind of gained momentum.

"I played again one of my best matches on clay", Halep said after coming back from a break down in the second set against Muguruza.

All three were tight, three-set defeats, none more painful than her slow fade against the inexperienced Ostapenko in Paris previous year, where she led, 6-4, 3-0, with a point to go up, 4-0, before Ostapenko rallied to take the trophy instead.

Their matchup provides a contrast in styles: Keys is a big hitter whose serves and forehands are the keys to her success; Stephens covers every inch of the court as well as anyone.

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